A lacklustre season for defending world champion and world number one Mark Selby has concluded with a handsome defeat to Joe Perry in the opening round of the World Championship.
Selby fails to challenge as poor potting lets him down
The contest opened the competition but it was qualifier Perry, the oldest man in the tournament at 43, who flashed into life from the outset. Breaks of 52, 56 and 63 gave Perry a 4-0 lead as Selby struggled with his potting.
The Jester from Leicester finally sparked in frame five and consecutive breaks of 74 and 92 gave him hope. Yet Perry responded with contributions of 59, 84 and 109 as he won four more frames in a row to go 8-2 ahead.
Selby offered a brief spell of hope when he won back-to-back frames again but Perry secured a comfortable passage into the second round with breaks of 76 and 90. An average shot time six seconds slower than his opponent and a pot success rate of just 88% underpinned just how much Selby struggled in a contest that was synonymous with how his season has panned out.
Perry now awaits the winner of Mark Allen against Liam Highfield with the former 6-3 ahead overnight. Highfield produced a break of 99 in frame two but Allen made contributions between 51 and 89 in each of his six frame wins.
Youngster Lyu cruises through
The next surprise result was not too far away from the scoreboard as the youngest and lowest ranked player in the competition was not overawed on his Crucible debut. World number 68 Lyu Haotian stormed into a 4-1 lead against Marco Fu, making a 122 break in the process.
Fu's season has been so poor that he is only just inside the top 50 on the season points list but he appeared to be back in the contest when a 102 contribution sparked consecutive successes. However, his 20-year old opponent made a mockery of the world rankings as he won the next four frames with breaks of 127, 87 and 50, scoring a mammoth 387 points without reply.
Fu did offer another mini-revival in frame 12 and 13, scoring 120 in the latter, but Lyu responded with a break of 79 as Fu failed to pot for the seventh frame of the match. Lyu then secured his progression and a 10-5 win with another half-century in the final frame of the day.
O'Sullivan recovers from a dismal start
Another shock appeared to be on the cards as the favourite appeared to be following in the footsteps of his rival. Ronnie O'Sullivan fell 4-0 and 6-3 behind to Stephen Maguire, leaving the multi-world champion in a challenging position overnight.
O'Sullivan had shown signs of life with breaks of 118 and 110 during that session but it was his ability to convert chances rather than his hefty break-building that saw him through. After O'Sullivan took the first frame of the second day, Maguire missed straightforward pots in consecutive frames to let the Rocket draw level.
Maguire briefly restored his advantage with a break of 84 in frame 13 but O'Sullivan went on the win four on the bounce as he eventually cruised past a deflated Maguire. Yet the second most decorated player in the game knows he will have to improve on a 57% long pot success rate and 76% safety success in the second round.
Carter edges through, Wilson ignites and Murphy pegged back
O'Sullivan's next opponent will be Ali Carter after he came through a challenging tie against Graeme Dott. Carter fell 6-2 behind to the former world champion despite Dott not making a single break over 50. Carter ignited a run of four successive frames with breaks of 61, 62 and 108 but Dott then took two of the next three to edge 8-7 ahead. However, England's Carter refound his form at the ideal moment as contributions of 69, 56 and 53 gave him a trio of successes to progress into the last 16.
Elsewhere, Kyren Wilson enjoyed a much easier contest with Matthew Stevens after a shaky start. Wilson failed to produce any formulations over 50 as he edged into a 3-2 lead. Yet he soon sparked into life, winning seven of the next eight frames with breaks of 94, 65, 126, 121 and 54 as Stevens was left watching on for long periods.
The smart money would be on Shaun Murphy progressing to meet Wilson but his tie is far from over against world number 51 Jamie Jones. Murphy stormed into a 4-1 lead, producing the highest break of the tournament with a 137 in frame three. However, Jones rallied with four of the next five frames, making breaks of 94 and 114 as Murphy failed to pot in the last two.