Judd Trump joined Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Barry Hawkins among the first round casualties at the Bank of Communications OTO Shanghai Masters as he lost 5-2 to Dominic Dale.
PICTURES by Tai Chengzhe
Trump had won all five previous meetings – including two first round clashes at the Crucible – but this time it was Spaceman Dale who soared into the last 16 to face Stuart Bingham or Li Hang.
Bristol’s Trump, who was chasing back-to-back ranking titles having won the Australian Goldfields Open, went 2-1 up with a break of 100, but Welshman Dale dominated from that point and won four frames in a row with top runs of 57, 100 and 95.
“There have been a couple of previous matches between us where I have lost from a good position, through not holding it together,” said Dale.
“Last week at the Six Red event in Thailand the weight came loose in my cue so it’s making a terrible noise every time I strike the ball. So tonight I was just focussed on hoping the cue plays as it normally does. That took the focus away from winning the match – I was just playing snooker. That took pressure off me and I think that’s why I won.
“If I get to the final I should peroxide my hair blonde as I did when I won this tournament seven years ago, just so I have a matching pair of DVDs of me with the trophy.”
Home favourite Ding Junhui made a strong start with a 5-1 victory over Jack Lisowski, knocking in breaks of 128 and 67.
“I haven’t practised much so I’m trying to play my best safety and I capitalised on that,” said Ding, whose triumph here last year was the first of a record-equalling five ranking titles during the season. “Jack seemed to rush some shots and left me too many chances. Generally speaking I played ok.
“I was a bit nervous at the beginning as I haven’t played in major ranking events for some time, so I wasn’t used to the conditions. Even after two or three frames I wasn’t feeling comfortable. For no reason, after the interval I suddenly began to cue well.
“Tables are the same everywhere but it’s the weather or humidity that makes the difference. I wasn’t controlling the cueball well enough in the first half. As a pro, you have to learn to adjust. It’s impossible that you play all over the world and get the same conditions.
“So many top players have lost and I might just be the next one. After all, I have to concentrate on my own game and matches.”
Defeats for Ricky Walden and Robert Milkins meant that six out of eight seeded players have lost their opening matches so far. Milkins lost 5-1 to Fergal O’Brien, who top scored with 75, while Walden went down 5-2 to Michael Holt, whose top break was 66.