Ronnie O'Sullivan loses to Stuart Bingham in UK Champs
UK Snooker Championship Venue: Telford International Centre Date: 4-12 December Coverage: Live action and highlights on BBC Two and BBC Red Button; updates and reports on BBC Radio 5 live and this website
O'Sullivan crashes out against Bingham
Ronnie O'Sullivan suffered a shock exit in the UK Championship first round after losing 9-6 to Stuart Bingham.
Three-time world champion O'Sullivan struggled throughout and was lucky to be level at 4-4 after a scrappy opening session before resuming on Monday.
He was cruising at 6-4 after a fourth successive frame but a number of erratic shots let former practice partner Bingham back at the table.
World number 23 Bingham secured five frames in a row to claim a famous win.
It was a curious performance from O'Sullivan, currently ranked eighth in the new rolling system, with a number of loose shots at key times in this opening-round clash at Telford.
The fact that the former number one's father had been watching following his recent release from prison may have been a contributory factor but Bingham should be given huge credit for staying calm as the match concluded in increasingly bizarre and unpredictable fashion.
Bingham was left unhappy with the conduct of his opponent. "When you fluke a ball or fluke a snooker, 99 out of 100 players apologise to their opponent, but Ronnie doesn't do that," the 34-year-old said.
"Before the match I said to my manager that if I get a fluke and say sorry, he can slap me round the face. A couple of times in the match Ronnie fluked a ball and never said a word.
"We used to practise together, he would text me and ask if I wanted a game. But he hasn't texted me for nearly a year."
O'Sullivan admitted he had been totally outplayed and said: "I was just second to the punch all day and felt as if I was being bullied around the table. I was second to Stuart in every department."
Despite both players sharing eight frames during Sunday's first session, Bingham may have been slightly disappointed having dominated for long periods at the start of this match.
O'Sullivan gracious after defeat by Bingham
The Basildon cueman knocked in a 90 and then a 72 and 73 to open up a lead of 4-2 before allowing 'the Rocket' to end the night on a high note.
Watching O'Sullivan take the first two frames on Monday afternoon, his fans would have felt confident their man had finally turned the corner - the opening frame gave him a 5-4 advantage and it was the first time he had led in the whole match.
However, the form of the player with four UK crowns to his name took a peculiar nosedive as he once again struggled to produce any consistency, not helped by a number of strange shot choices.
Bingham scrapped his way to level at 6-6 and soon made it three in a row with a steady break of 44.
O'Sullivan was looking increasingly distracted and disinterested and was struggling in the 14th frame, but he at least had an opportunity to take it to a re-spotted black if he could pot from brown to black.
A careless shot on the blue gave him too much work to do on the pink and Bingham did not need a second invitation to wrap it up and get to within one frame of victory. A break of 48 in the next proved too much for O'Sullivan and he duly stepped forward to concede the match.
Bingham will next play Marco Fu in the second round after Hong Kong's finest knocked in a 138 in the 14th frame to come from 7-6 down to beat Englishman Barry Hawkins 9-7.
The second biggest shock of the day resulted in world number three Ali Carter suffering a surprise 9-6 defeat against former English Amateur champion Mark Joyce.
Joyce beat Steve Davis in the final round of qualifying and continued his fine form to beat Carter, helped with a 103 in the afternoon and will next face Bristolian Judd Trump, 21, who defeated Jamie Cope 9-6.
Ryan Day edged out Mark King 9-8 after securing a dramatic victory on the black in the last frame. The Welshman will play 2005 Crucible winner Shaun Murphy, who beat Northern Ireland's Patrick Wallace 9-5, for a place in the quarters.
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