John Higgins and Barry Hawkins both suffered first round exits at the Bank of Communications Shanghai Masters, losing 5-4 to Ryan Day and Mark Williams respectively.
Two-time World Champion Williams recovered from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat world number five Hawkins and earn a last 16 place. Hawkins made the bigger breaks with 70, 50 and 144, but Williams stayed in touch with his opponent and eventually won the decider 66-12.
“Either of us could have won in the end, I just sneaked over the line,” said world number 20 Williams. “It was hot and sticky so we both struggled a bit. I’m just happy to still be in the tournament.”
Day led four-time World Champion Higgins 2-1 after runs of 70 and 78 before Higgins, who won his last ranking title at this event two years ago, took the next three frames. Day recovered to 4-4 with 55 and 102, then compiled a superb 77 clearance in the decider after Higgins had made 43.
“It was a good match,” said Welshman Day. “I thought I had lost a couple of times towards the end. I potted a good red in the last frame and managed to hold myself together to clear up, which is not easy to do in a decider.”
In the wild card round, Matthew Selt suffered a 5-3 reverse against promising Chinese cueman Zhao Xintong, whose top run was 57, while Ken Doherty top scored with 91 in a 5-3 victory over Huang Jiahao.
Doherty said: “I started off really well and went 4-0 up, but then he started to play a lot better and all of a sudden it was a much closer game than I’d wanted. It’s amazing how quickly a match can change on one or two shots.
“The crowds have been pretty good for the first two days although I would like to see more people in the arena because it’s a great venue. The sponsor and promoter do a magnificent job. The red carpet walk on Sunday and opening cermeony were top quality and we don’t get that anywhere else in the world. They really put on a good show.”