Michael White scored what he described as the best result of his career so far as he came from 3-0 down to beat Neil Robertson 5-4 in the first round of the Bank of Communications OTO Shanghai Masters.
World number two Robertson joined a string of high profile casualties at the season’s third world ranking event, with the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, John Higgins and Barry Hawkins also falling at the first hurdle.
Neath’s 23-year-old White reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship and the Indian Open last year and has climbed to 31st in the world, and results such as today’s will continue to cement his status as one of snooker’s most exciting young talents.
Wuxi Classic winner Robertson appeared to be cruising towards the last 16 when he won the first three frames, taking the third with a 96 clearance. But White pinched the next with a 32 clearance and added the next couple with two breaks of 55. Australia’s Robertson won a safety battle on the last red in frame seven as he went 4-3 ahead, but White dominated the eighth to force the decider.
Robertson had first scoring opportunity but could only make 16, and when he missed a long red to gift his opponent a clear chance, White seized it with a composed 64.
“Neil wasn’t at his best today and I came back well from 3-0 down and played a good decider,” said White, who now meets fellow Welshman Ryan Day. “It probably goes down as my best win even though I beat Mark Williams at the Crucible. At 3-0 down I was wondering what time the flight home was.
“Ryan and I travelled out here together, we are practice partners and he’s one of my best mates. The crowd were brilliant today, it’s a great venue and I’m enjoying it here.”
Martin Gould also produced an impressive fight-back as he came from 4-1 down to beat Joe Perry 5-4. The Londoner rattled in breaks of 105 and 83 in getting back to 4-4 then edged the decider by potting the brown and blue.
“A chunk of my tip came off in the third frame so I had to take 15 minutes to repair it – it’s not great but it will survive,” said Gould, who now meets Ding Junhui. “From 4-1 down I decided to just go for it. I got lucky in the seventh frame and again in the decider because I missed a couple of silly balls. It was the kind of decider where we were both going to need two or three chances to win it. Joe potted a great green but snookered himself on the brown which was very unlucky.
“I’m delighted because I love Shanghai and it’s great to have the chance to play Ding, I’m looking forward to it. I beat him here before, three years ago, so hopefully lightning will strike twice.”
China’s Li Hang compiled breaks of 136 and 141 in taking a 3-1 lead over Stuart Bingham, but the Englishman recovered to win 5-3 with top runs of 96, 91 and 78. Graeme Dott beat Chinese prodigy Yan Bingtao 5-2 with a top break of 69.