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Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 17:54 UK

Ronnie O'Sullivan suffers first-round China Open exit

Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan began confidently with a first-frame break of 93

Ronnie O'Sullivan sensationally crashed out of the China Open with a 5-3 first-round defeat by Tian Pengfei.

The world number one conceded the match against his wildcard opponent when he failed to pot a simple black which would have levelled the scores at 4-4.

Defending champion Peter Ebdon overcame a Judd Trump comeback for a 5-4 win.

Stephen Hendry rolled in a break of 132 on his way to a 5-2 win over Andrew Higginson, while Mark King came from behind to beat James Wattana 5-4.

The 40-year-old Thai, who twice reached the semi-finals of the World Championships at the Crucible in the 1990s, was 2-0 and 4-2 ahead against King.

But the gritty Essex left-hander responded superbly with breaks of 74, 56 and 100 in the final three frames to seal a satisfying victory.

However, the day's talking point was the exit of O'Sullivan against the unheralded Pengfei.

Apart from Shanghai and the UK Championship, this season I have been below the standard I set myself

Ronnie O'Sullivan

The three-time world champion had begun confidently, opening up with a break of 93 in the first frame, followed up with 77, 59 and 61.

However, uncharacteristic mistakes allowed his 22-year-old opponent to capitalise and square the match at 3-3.

O'Sullivan looked to have the seventh frame in the bag following six reds and six blacks but missed an ambitious cut along the top cushion, allowing home favourite Tian to clean up with a break of 87 to take a 4-3 lead.

And O'Sullivan's error-strewn performance eventually cost him the match as he failed to put sufficient power behind a standard pot on the final black, leaving the ball resting on the jaws, before conceding the match.

And the 34-year-old admitted his form has suffered a dip over the past few months.

"I thought I played okay, there were just two or three frames that I lost from a long way ahead, when Tian made good clearances," he said.

"I had a chance for 4-4 but I missed too many balls at crucial times," he said.

"I felt relaxed and my preparation was as good as it could have been, but I wasn't the better player on the night. I try hard and play to win every match, but if my form is not great I will struggle against good opposition.

"Apart from Shanghai and the UK Championship, this season I have been below the standard I set myself."

Earlier, Ebdon had to withstand a Trump fightback after taking a 3-1 lead.

Ebdon recorded two fifty breaks en route to his comfortable mid-session lead, but a spirited Trump fightback saw him level the match at 4-4.

Ebdon clinched the deciding frame in three scoring visits.

606: DEBATE

"It wasn't a fantastic match," said the 39-year-old. "Judd is a tough opponent, you can see his class and his cue power. I had my fair share of luck, but as Gary Player said, the more you practise, the luckier you get.

"The table was beautiful, it was very fast and difficult to control the white. It was warm in there as well, I think I lost about 20 kilos."

Hendry restricted Widnes pro Higginson to just 38 points after the interval, as runs of 73, 42 and 69 booked his place in round two.

"I'm quite pleased with the form I showed, I missed a couple of balls but I'm happy to be in the next round," said the 41-year-old Scot.

Ali Carter cruised to a 5-1 win over Chinese wildcard Liu Chuang which included runs of 68, 52 and 53.

Former world champion Shaun Murphy also crashed out of the first round following a 5-2 defeat by Nigel Bond, the same scoreline which saw 2010 Masters champion Mark Selby beat Rod Lawler.

Joe Perry also booked his second-round place following a comfortable 5-1 win over Malta's Tony Drago.



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see also
Higgins unhappy after scrappy win
30 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Higginson through to face Hendry
29 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Davis & Taylor stage 1985 rematch
29 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Bond desperate to end on a high
25 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Maguire aims for police clearance
18 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Hearn warns players of mediocrity
12 Mar 10 |  Snooker


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