David Morris scored the best result of his career so far as he knocked World Champion and world number one Mark Selby out of the Coral UK Championship.
By Mark Rawlinson
Morris caused the biggest upset of the tournament so far with a 6-4 win over Selby, who won this title two years ago and lost in the final last year.
Irishman Morris has enjoyed life at the York Barbican in recent years – he made it through to the fourth round 12 months ago and the win over Selby put him into round three this year.
Morris led 3-1 at the interval then Selby responded with breaks of 60 and 68 to pull level. Kilkenny-born Morris responded with an excellent 126 break and then sealed the match from 4-4 as he hit a 72 and then a 79 to ensure the victory.
The 26-year-old said: “I’ve always felt comfortable in the arena here and I actually got a buzz from it. Sometimes if you start missing a few you can start getting a bit embarrassed but today I felt pretty good.
“I made a good 126 break to go 4-3 ahead. I think if he had won that frame then he could have run out 6-3, that’s the way snooker goes. I’m delighted to win and to beat someone of Mark’s class is a big feather in my cap.
“I had a few good wins last year but I don’t think any of them compare to that one because it’s such a big event. I’ve had wins over Judd Trump and John Higgins but this was at the UK Championship, in front of a packed audience and on a TV table so that’s a big thing for me to win that match.”
Selby, runner-up here last year, was disappointed although he is looking forward to spending some more time with his new-born daughter.
“I didn’t think I started the game well and deserved to go 3-1 behind,” he said. “After the interval I thought I played a lot better but David played better as well. On the day he deserved to win.
“I’ve known him for a few years and I know he dropped off the tour and thought about stopping playing but I know the potential he has got he should be doing a lot better than he is at the moment. He showed what a good player he is out there.
“At least I can go back home and spend as much time as possible with my daughter.”
Despite a strong start to the match, Jimmy White was unable to down world number three Ding Junhui.
1992 UK Championship winner White won the opening frame and was looking good to take the second but Ding won an epic safety battle on the final black, doubling it into a baulk pocket.
He then won the third on the final black before knocking in a 105 to go into the interval 3-1 up. White closed to 3-2 but Ding saw the match out well, winning the next three with a top break of 77.
“I think Jimmy played ok today,” said Ding. “He was just being a little bit unlucky sometimes. It was good for me to win the second and third frames to put him under pressure.”
John Higgins boosted his chances of playing at the Masters in January with a 6-4 win over Jamie Cope.
It was a tight match all the way through but the Scot edged in front by winning frame nine to go 5-4 before coolly making a break of 69 in the next to seal the win.
“It was scrappy from the word go,” said Higgins. “I started off well to go 2-0 in front but after that I just of fell away.
“It looked as if it was going to go 5-5 and my record in deciders in the last couple of years has been pretty pathetic so I was fearing the worst but Jamie missed and I managed to get in and make a good clearance.”
Fraser Patrick recorded an excellent win as he beat world number 22 Ryan Day 6-4. The Scot also made a 139 break in frame five, the tournament’s joint-highest so far.
Gerard Greene also made a 139 in the opening frame of his last 64 match with Matthew Stevens, but went on to lose 6-3 as the Welshman won the final four frames without reply.
Marco Fu looked in good form as he smashed in three centuries, 106, 101 and 112, as he defeated young Chinese player Lyu Haotian 6-1.
Fu will play Dechawat Poomjaeng in the last 32 after he beat Nottingham potter Michael Holt 6-3, while David Gilbert also progressed thanks to a 6-2 win over Mark Joyce.