Three of snooker’s top stars suffer Shanghai Masters setbacks

Three of snooker’s elite stars – including two former world champions – will not be making the trip to China to compete in the Shanghai Masters next month after suffering shock defeats this week.

The likes of Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson and Kyren Wilson – who won the event two years ago – all lost their qualifying round tie at Wigan this week.

2005 world champion Murphy went down 5-4 to China’s Yuan Sijun who is playing his first season as a professional after winning the Asian Under 21 Championship last season.

Australian Robertson, who was crowned World Championship winner in 2010, also lost to one of snooker’s newest pros – Chris Totten in a shock 5-2 loss.

The defeat for Robertson is a huge blow for his Masters hope as he is still a major doubt to qualify for the prestigious invitational tournament in January.

And there will be no repeat success of two years ago for Wilson after he suffered defeat to Northern Ireland’s Gerard Greene for the second time in recent weeks – losing 5-3. Green beat Wilson in the European Masters earlier this month.

But there was joy for Ronnie O’Sullivan who thrashed Christopher Keogan 5-0 and European Masters winner Judd Trump eased through beating Joe Swail 5-2.

Last year’s winner and home favourite Ding Junhui and reigning world champion Mark Selby will play their qualification matches at the venue stage when the tournament gets underway.

The Shanghai Masters starts on Monday, November 13 – slightly later than usual after it was initially replaced for this season’s calendar by the World Open – won by Ding Junhui.

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