TWO of the world’s top 16 players will not play at the venue stages of this season’s China Open after they suffered surprising early exits earlier today (Sunday).
World numbers 12 and 15 – Robert Milkins and Joe Perry – crashed out of the major event, to held in Beijing, at the first stage this morning following defeats to Gary Wilson and Duane Jones respectively.
The China Open, one of the most established events in the snooker calendar gets underway on March 31 and is the last major event before the World Championships. Neil Robertson was last year’s winner.
Milkins failed to deliver his A game when the first batch of Last 128 games were held at Gloucester’s Capital Venue, losing 5-3 to Wilson.
And Perry, who has enjoyed a successful season by returning to the sport’s elite group of players, fell to a 5-2 defeat by amateur Jones who compiled breaks of 141, 137, 75 and 74 in an impressive 5-2 win.
There was also a surprising exit for former Masters winner Matthew Stevens who crashed out losing 5-0 to Thailand’s James Wattana. The win for Wattana is a huge boost for him as he bids to hang onto his place on the main tour for next season.
Defending champion Robertson began his defence with a 5-3 win over Li Yan despite at one stage being behind at 3-2.
Mark Selby, who lost to Robertson in last year’s final, cruised into the venue stage with a 5-0 win over amateur Ryan Clark.
There were also whitewash wins for Yu Delu, Anthony McGill and Jamie Cope who beat Lyu Haotian, Michael Leslie and Gareth Green respectively.
Jack Lisowski, who reached the quarter-finals of the China Open last year, came back from behind to beat teenager Shane Castle 5-4 and Rory McLeod came back from 4-1 down to defeat Noppon Saengkham.
Steve Davis is out after he fell to a 5-3 defeat to Michael Wasley and Dave Harold boosted his chances of tour survival after coming back from behind to defeat Zhang Anda 5-4.
More qualifying matches will be held on Monday and Tuesday.
Neil ROBERTSON 5-3 Li Yan
Anthony McGill 5-0 Michael LESLIE
Mark WILLIAMS 5-1 Daniel WELLS
James WATTANA 5-0 Matthew STEVENS
Mark JOYCE 5-2 Christopher KEOGAN
Yu DELU 5-0 Lyu HAOTIAN
Duane JONES 5-2 Joe PERRY
Jack LISOWSKI 5-4 Shane CASTLE
Rory McLEOD 5-4 Noppon SAENGKHAM
Dave HAROLD 5-4 Zhang ANDA
Jamie COPE 5-0 Gareth GREEN
Dechawat POOMJAENG 5-3 Ratchayothin YOTHARUCK
David GRACE 5-4 Liang WENBO
Xiao GUODONG 5-2 Andrew PAGETT
Hammad MIAH 5-4 Gerard GREENE
Pankaj ADVANI 5-3 Chen ZHE
Ricky WALDEN 5-3 Liam HIGHFIELD
Ali CARTER 5-1 Lee PAGE
Jamie JONES 5-1 Mitchell TRAVIS
Ryan DAY 5-2 Khaled ABUMDAS
Jimmy ROBERTSON 5-3 Sydney WILSON
Michael WASLEY 5-3 Steve DAVIS
Gary WILSON 5-3 Robert MILKINS
Mark SELBY 5-0 Ryan CLARK