Defending champion Ryan Day knocked out of Riga Masters

Defending champion Ryan Day is out of the Riga Masters after losing an epic encounter against Ali Carter.

Ryan Day. Picture by Monique Limbos

Twelve months ago saw Day lift his first major ranking title in Riga but he was forced to pack his bags early on Friday after a 4-3 defeat.

Carter, who beat Ronnie O’Sullivan during this year’s World Championship, made breaks of 75 and 64 before a final frame run of 77 clinched his place in the second round.

Barry Hawkins also became one of the biggest casualties on the tournament’s opening day despite producing a wonderful comeback.

The 2018 World Championship semi-finalist and world number 7 suffered a surprising 4-3 defeat to Li Hang of China in the season’s first major ranking event.

Hawkins looked dead and buried when he trailed the match 3-0 at one stage but then produced a brilliant fightback by winning the next three frames to force a decider.

But Li responded in great fashion by winning the all-important seventh frame, meaning an early exit for Hawkins.

Elsewhere, world champion Mark Williams reached the last 32 stage with a 4-2 win over Ben Woollaston.

Kyren Wilson cruised into the next round with a 4-0 win while the man who beat him in this year’s dramatic Masters final, Mark Allen, came back from 3-1 down to beat Peter Lines.

Former Riga Masters champion Neil Robertson made six breaks of 50 or more in a 4-2 victory against Li Yuan.

But Belgian Bullet Luca Brecel, who last season won his first major ranking title, suffered an early exit losing 4-2 to Mark Davis.

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