MARCO Fu’s hopes of securing a guaranteed spot in this year’s World Championship were dashed after he suffered a first round defeat on the opening day of the China Open.
The Hong Kong star, who needed a good run in Beijing this week to give himself a chance of getting in the top 15 of the provisional seedings, suffered a 5-3 defeat to former world champion Graeme Dott – meaning he will have to qualify to enter snooker’s biggest event.
Fu, who reached the German Masters final last month, started the brighter out of the two players when he won the first two frames to take a 2-0 lead with a top break of 54.
But the 2006 world champion hit back to win five of the next six frames to seal a place in the last 16 and a meeting with either defending champion Peter Ebdon or Marcus Campbell.
The other first round match played today saw Welsh Open champion Stephen Maguire come back from behind to knock out Nottingham’s Michael Holt in a 5-3 win.
The Glaswegian looked in real danger of a big upset when Holt took a 3-1 lead after compiling two century breaks (105 and 101) in between a break of 133 from Maguire.
But after the interval Holt failed to build on his two frame advantage and the world number seven hit back to win the remaining four frames. Maguire will face either Ding Junhui or Barry Hawkins in the second round.
The opening day saw four wildcard round matches played with Jamie Cope being the only professional to suffer a shock defeat.
Cope, who reached the final of this event in 2007, was not at the races and consequently suffered a 5-2 defeat to home-grown player Zhao Xintong whose win set up a last 32 clash with German Masters champion Ali Carter.
China’s Liang Wenbo had no such worries as a top break of 126 helped him on his way to a 5-1 win over Lu Ning and Rory McLeod eased through to the first round proper winning by the same scoreline against Hu Hao.
Anthony McGill battled to a hard-fought 5-3 victory against Heydari Ehsan and Jimmy Robertson hit three century breaks of 142, 121 and 126 to book a first round tie with namesake Neil in a convincing 5-1 win over Wang Yuchen.
And Jack Lisowski set up a first round clash against good friend and world number one Judd Trump after a 5-1 win over Zhou Yuelong.