Ding crashes out in early UK Championship shock

DING Junhui crashed out of the UK Championship on its opening day after suffering a shock first round defeat to an amateur player.

Ding Junhui. Picture by Monique Limbos

Ding Junhui. Picture by Monique Limbos

China’s number one star, who has won the UK Championship on two occasions, was out of sorts throughout in a 6-2 defeat to Adam Duffy, who is not on the professional roll card.

It is the first time in Ding’s career he has lost in the first round of the UK Championship – one of snooker’s biggest tournaments on the calendar.

The defeat means his wait to win another major ranking event goes on

Duffy, a part time builder, laid the foundations of a memorable win by winning the first three frames of the Last 128 contest with a top break of 94.

Ding got back into the match winning the next two frames but the 26-year-old, who was on the pro tour between 2011-2014, took the match winning the next three frames.

After the match he told World Snooker: “What a feeling. I don’t think I’m going to sleep tonight. I’m still in shock myself. I’ve been working really hard at the academy in Sheffield and I’ve put a lot of hours in.

“I thought Ding would come back from 3-0 down, he is a class player. I had to dig in and hope that he missed a few – and he did.”

The opening day also saw International Championship winner John Higgins continue his fine form with a 6-1 win over amateur Leo Fernandez.

Four-times world champion Higgins has been earmarked as one of the favourites for the tournament by seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry.

Fellow Scot Anthony McGill, who beat Mark Selby en-route to the quarter-finals of this year’s World Championship, beat James Cahill in style making breaks of 142, 127 and 128.

But there was no such joy for world number 17 Michael; White who suffered an early exit losing 6-5 to new professional Sydney Wilson 6-5.

Joe Swail and Ken Doherty also impressed on Day One with 6-0 wins over Joel Walker and Tony Drago respectively.

Michael Georgiou also secured his place in the second round after he came back from behind to snatch a 6-5 win over Irishman David Morris.

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