Mark Selby suffered his first defeat since becoming World Champion, losing 5-3 to Liang Wenbo in the last 32 of the Wuxi Classic.
Selby beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Crucible final seven weeks ago to win his first world crown, and won his first two matches in the new season’s opening ranking event before falling at the hands of China’s world number 26 Liang.
Liang won the first frame with a break of 71 and added the second, before Selby hit back to 2-2 with runs of 81 and 119. Breaks of 100 and 50 helped Liang go 4-2 ahead. Selby won the seventh frame but failed to pot a ball in the eighth as Liang set up a last 16 clash with Joe Perry.
Defending champion Neil Robertson came from 2-0 down to beat Michael Georgiou 5-3. Robertson was handed a bye in the last 64 as his opponent Alexander Ursenbacher had to pull out due to a visa problem, and the Australian looked rusty against Q School graduate Georgiou.
A break of 88 gave Georgiou the opening frame and he added a scrappy second. Robertson took the next three frames before Londoner Georgiou won the next for 3-3. But UK Champion Robertson produced his best snooker of the match in the last two frames, compiling runs of 105, 69 and 52 to earn a meeting with Michael Holt. Yixing Open runner-up Holt saw off Sam Baird 5-2 with a top break of 114.
A dramatic all-Scottish clash between four-time World Champion John Higgins and Alan McManus went in favour of McManus 5-4. From 3-1 down, McManus made a 78 then a 54 clearance to get back to 3-3. The next two were shared, then a tense 50-minute decider was resolved when McManus potted the last blue, pink and black.
Performance of the day came from Finland’s resurgent Robin Hull, who compiled breaks of 139, 134, 59 and 72 in a 5-3 win over Graeme Dott.
China’s 17-year-old Zhao Xintong, tipped for the top by many, beat Jack Lisowski 5-2 with a top run of 63.
“Jack is a fast player and his scoring has always been fluent,” said Zhao, who now meets Shaun Murphy. “However he wasn’t playing well today and I wasn’t at the top of my game either. He offered me chances towards the end so I managed to finish the match. Jack would be better than me as a player if we were both in normal form.
“I can discover my own weaknesses when playing higher ranked opponents. That’s how I want to improve myself. I’ve never seen Shaun playing badly and he’s a consistent player. I’m very relaxed and I’ll try my best to win.”
Murphy came from 2-1 down to beat Chris Wakelin 5-2 with a top run of 88. “The first four frames were frustrating because the game was very scrappy,” said Murphy. “There is a bad weather today which affects the table. The temperature and humidity makes a big difference because the cloth soaks up the moisture in the air. After the interval the match opened up and I made a few good breaks.”
Judd Trump came from 2-1 down to beat Ben Woollaston 5-3, closing with a break of 116, while Barry Hawkins avoided a shock against 14-year-old Yan Bingtao, coming from 3-1 down to win 5-4.
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu saw off Jamie Jones 5-3 while Stuart Bingham came from 4-2 down to edge out Anthony Hamilton 5-4. Ryan Day won a Welsh derby against Mark Williams 5-2 with a top break of 85.
Martin Gould ended the run of amateur Oliver Brown, winning 5-1, while in form Joe Perry scored his second consecutive whitewash, beating Robert Milkins 5-0.
China’s Cao Yupeng scored a 5-3 win over Ricky Walden and said: “Overall I’m pleased with the way I played. I did both well in scoring and safety. Ricky had chances to go 4-4 but he didn’t make the most of them, then I managed to get over the line.
“Most of the time I can score pretty heavily, but I still need to improve my break-building. I lost many matches after I made my Crucible debut two years ago and I lost my confidence in a way. I practised a lot to find some form, and did some body building, jogging and gym work. Now I’m feeling fit and ready for matches.”