World Open 2016: Murphy safely through, whilst Fu, Maguire and Gould suffer an early exit

Shaun Murphy is defending his crown in China as the first round of the World Open broke off this week.

World Open 2016: Murphy safely through, whilst Fu, Maguire and Gould suffer an early exit
Shaun Murphy is looking to retain the title (photo: Sporting Life)

The third major ranking competition of the season, the World Open, began with a handful of surprises that are becoming customary in the sport of snooker.

A wealth of big names bow out early 

Martin Gould did not even make it past qualifying as he was dumped out of the competition by Hammad Miah in a final frame decider. He was followed home by a host of players who lost against lower ranked opponents including Martin O'Donnell, Jamie Jones, Sam Baird, Dominic Dale, Joe Swail, Robert Milkins, Tian Pengfei, Dechawat Poomjaeng, Mark Joyce, Ken Doherty, Rory McLeod and Li Wang who were taught a lesson at Yushan Number One Middle School.

The drama certainly did not end there as the surprise performances continued into the first round. Stephen Maguire lost 5-4 to home favourite Xiao Guodong, whilst Michael White lost by the same scoreline to Kurt Maflin.

Luca Brecel was tipped to have an exciting season but could not make it past Thor Chaun Leong, whilst veteran Peter Ebdon was thrashed 5-1 by Zhang Anda. Marco Fu then followed the string of big names in an early exit as he was defeated by Sam Craigie in possibly the shock of the week so far.

The performances of the first round belong to Tom Ford and David Brown Gilbert. The former came back from 4-0 down against Mark Davis to win 5-4, whilst Gilbert was the only man to whitewash his opponent.

Robertson is into the last 32. | Image source: Yahoo - Icon
Robertson is into the last 32. | Image source: Yahoo - Icon

Some of the favourites remain 

Despite the surprises, a wealth of big names still remain in the competition. Reigning champion Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Ricky Walden and World Champion Mark Selby all cruised past their opponents. 

Barry Hawkins and Stuart Bingham both made life harder for themselves with final frame decider victories, whilst Joe Perry and Judd Trump were handed byes after their opponents withdrew. Anthony McGill also made it through to the second round after securing his 100th century break after winning his first major tournament of the year earlier this month.