The opening session of this year’s UK Championship witnessed the shock of the season as Ding Junhui crashed out in the first round losing 6-5 to a player ranked 127 PLACES below him in the world rankings.
World number 130 Leo Fernandez sensationally came back from 5-1 to beat the former UK Championship during an unbelievable afternoon in York.
The result, given Ding was cruising 5-1 to the good, has to be one of – if not – the biggest shock in the tournament’s history which spans more than 40 years.
Despite losing the first frame, Ding rallied and looked out of sight when he won five frames on the bounce to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Nobody could have imagined what was to come.
Fernandez then began the fightback of his life reducing his deficit to 5-2 and 5-3 before incredibly closing the gap to just a single frame.
He then took the tenth frame to force an unlikely decider.
Fernandez dominated the crucial frame but a foul when snookered gifted Ding a chance to win it. But this season’s World Open winner failed to cannon the final pink away from the side cushion and could not get it safe after playing his next shot. Fernandez, under immense pressure, then potted the match-winning pink into the middle pocket to complete the mother of all comebacks.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Ryan Day and Mark King who both cruised to 6-0 wins.
Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh came back from 3-0 and won a final frame decider to beat Northern Ireland Open semi-finalist Elliot Slessor 6-5.
Marco Fu beat Nigel Bond 6-2 and Mike Dunn, who reached the quarter-finals in the Northern Ireland Open, continued his winning ways beating Fang Xiongman 6-2.