NEIL Robertson suffered an early exit in this year’s China Open following a surprise defeat to Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng in the opening round.
The Australian has appeared in the past two finals of the penultimate major ranking event of the season but he was sent packing early after losing 5-4 to the world number 37.
Robertson led 3-1 but Poomjaeng hit back to win the next three frames with a top run of 74. Robertson levelled at 4-4 and led 44-0 in the decider, but it came down to the colours and Poomjaeng eventually potted the final black to reach the last 32.
Defending champion Ding Junhui put on one of his best displays of a poor season so far after he beat Marcus Campbell 5-1. Campbell now needs a strong run in the World Championship if he is to have any chance of keeping his place on the main tour next season.
Ali Carter suffered an agonising 5-4 defeat in the first round after letting a 4-2 lead slip against Norway’s Kurt Maflin.
Jack Lisowski who reached the last eight in Beijing a couple of years ago came back from 3-1 down to beat Alan McManus.
Former China Open winner Peter Ebdon was pushed all the way before claiming a 5-4 win against China’s Zhang Anda. There was more heartbreak for the China faithful when Liang Wenbo lost 5-3 to Gary Wilson.
Top breaks of 74 and 62 helped Ricky Walden to a 5-0 win over China’s Cao Yupeng while former finalist Stephen Maguire enjoyed a 5-1 win over David Morris.
Ryan Day eased through with a 5-1 win over Liam Highfield and a top break of 120 helped Mark Davis to a 5-3 win over Kyren Wilson.
The second day sees the iikes of Mark Selby, Judd Trump and John Higgins start their campaigns to be the China Open champion.