The world No 1 Mark Selby was knocked out of the UK Championship after suffering a 6-2 defeat to Iran’s Hossein Vafaei in York on Sunday evening.
Vafaei raced into a 5-0 lead with breaks of 105, 69, 55 and 56 before an out-of-sorts Selby won the next two frames to threaten a comeback in the second-round clash.
However, the world champion went in-off when potting the black in frame eight to leave the scores tied at 54-54 and force a re-spotted black which Vafaei eventually fluked after a high-quality safety exchange.
“I think today I was a little bit lucky,” Vafaei said. “At the end I’m sorry to Mark. He’s one of our legends, total respect to him.”Selby was equally magnanimous in defeat, saying: “I didn’t really get a chance the first two frames, Hossein played great, settled really quickly. I probably should have won the third frame, missed an easy black off the spot and had half a chance in the next frame, so could have easily been 2-2 at the interval. But after the interval he kicked off great again and thoroughly deserved to win the match.
The world No 2 Judd Trump had earlier booked his place in the third round with a hard-fought victory over Chris Wakelin.
Trump recovered from 3-2 down to win 6-3 despite being far from his best. “There were a couple of frames I chucked away and there were a couple of distractions,” he said. “It’s hard when there’s so many tables going on at once and you’ve got people leaving. It’s good to have the crowds back but there are a lot more distractions.”
Elsewhere, Scotland’s Stephen Maguire thrashed China’s Tian Pengfei 6-1, but three-time winner Ding Junhui lost 6-3 to Sam Craigie. The most exciting match of the day saw China’s Zhao Xintong defeat Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-5 in a high-scoring contest.
Zhao trailed 3-0 before rattling off five frames in a row with breaks of 120, 114, 50, 92 and 56, but Un-Nooh fought back to force a decider which Zhao eventually won 73-66 on the black.
Ricky Walden completed a 6-3 win over Li Hang with a break of 129, while there were also wins for Cao Yupeng and Xiao Guodong over Martin Gould and Robert Milkins respectively.