By Phil Harlow
BBC Sport at The Crucible
Paul Hunter's army of supporters were left disappointed after the fourth seed lost 10-8 to Michael Holt in the first round at The Crucible.
Paul Hunter received a rapturous welcome from The Crucible crowd
Hunter opted to play despite being diagnosed with cancer but looked short of his best against a composed Holt.
Trailing 5-4, Holt showed real nerve to take the first three frames.
At 9-6 down, Hunter raised hopes of an fairytale comeback by winning the 16th and 17th frames before Holt closed out the match with a quality break.
Hunter admitted Holt had been good value for the victory.
"I take my hat off to Michael - he played some great snooker. At 9-9 I would have fancied it but he made a great clearance," said Hunter.
"I played pretty well in the first session but didn't get going in the second session until I was 9-6 down.
"But I'm really pleased just to be here, I didn't know if I was going to play or not."
Meanwhile, Holt admitted beating Hunter was made all the more difficult by the huge public support for his opponent.
"I tried to stay professional and concentrate on my own game," said the 26-year-old.
"I know it's nothing personal though. If he wasn't playing me, I'd want him to win."
P HUNTER (Eng) 8-10 M HOLT (Eng)
22-93 (93) 85-0 (62) 35-70 68-0 70-17 (51) 98-12 (74) 16-78 63-59 53-70 (61) 36-67 (51) 36-64 56-64 119-8 (115) 56-68 (56 Hunter) 6-67 (58) 120-2 (120) 62-30 42-68