The likes of Mark Selby, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Ding Junhui, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and John Higgins all did not feature at the Gibraltar Open as number nine seed Ryan Day took advantage to pick up the second ranking title of his career.
Amateurs take their chance to impress
The opening round was all about the amateurs as no less than seven defeated professional players and four more were granted a bye as their scheduled opponents dropped out. The most notable results included Robert Milkins losing to Andy Hicks and Michael White being stunned by Oliver Brown.
The second set of fixtures saw more high profile results and some excellent break-building. Stuart Bingham and Anthony McGill both comfortably progressed, each contributing a 140 which tied Scott Donaldson's first round formulation for the highest break of the tournament.
Yet the highest ranked player in the competition, Barry Hawkins at number eight, was thrashed 4-1 by Sam Craigie. Meanwhile, a quintet of amateurs continued their march into the last 32 as Hicks, Jamie Cope, Jamie Rhys Clarke, Brandon Sargeant and Michael Wild all progressed.
Day quietly progresses
The third round was the end of the road for the five pretenders but a handful of results still raised a few eyebrows. Liang Wenbo lost to Matthew Selt and Dominic Dale was defeated by Ken Doherty, whilst Jack Liswoski defeated Soheil Vahedi despite requiring a snooker in the final frame decider.
Further drama unfolded as the number of remaining players started to diminish. Donaldson recovered from 3-0 down to defeat Alfie Burden 4-3 on the final black before defeating Zhang Yong in the quarter-finals to make the semi-finals for only the second time in his career. Lee Walker achieved the same feat for the first time as he stunned McGill and Kyren Wilson. Meanwhile, Cao Yupeng stunned Stuart Bingham to complete a surprise semi-final line-up.
Both matches were tight affairs but the two favourites eventually made it through. Cao recovered from 2-1 behind to defeat Walker as the number 37 seed made just his second ranking final. Meanwhile, Day saw off another spirited Donaldson comeback after the Scotsman recovered from going 3-0 down before forcing a final frame decider.
Yet it was a much comfortable outing for Day in the final. Breaks of 58, 72 and 100 allowed Cao to score just seven points in the first three frames before the Welshman secured his success with a 4-0 whitewash in what was to be the concluding frame of the week.