The former world champion Peter Ebdon became the latest high-profile casualty of the UK Championship in York last night when he was knocked out in the third round by Quinten Hann.
Ebdon became the fifth player among the world's top eight to exit the tournament early on. The Australian Hann restored some sporting pride for his country with a 9-6 victory. "I am pretty proud of that win," the world No 14 said.
Paul Hunter had narrowly avoided the same fate earlier on after Mark King recovered from 7-4 down to force a deciding frame. But the Leeds professional came back to take the match 9-8 and secure a quarter-final against Matthew Stevens or James Wattana.
The world No 8 needed a large slice of good fortune, fluking an outrageous red into the yellow pocket to put him 60-0 clear with 67 left on the table.
Had he missed, the world No 22 King would have had a great chance to bring himself back into the match. Instead, the former Welsh Open runner-up failed to notch a point in the deciding frame.
Earlier, Barry Pinches ended a 14-year wait, reaching his first ranking tournament quarter-final with a 9-6 win over Stephen Lee.
The Norwich-based cueman has emerged as the real surprise package of the tournament. He won one match to qualify and has now reeled off three more victories to clinch a meeting against either the seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry or Ali Carter.
Pinches, currently ranked 36 in the world, won the English amateur title in 1988 and finished runner-up to James Wattana 12 months later in the world amateur championship. "Since then I've watched all these young kids coming through and I've never thought they could do something I couldn't do," he said.
"Besides, I'm a very laid-back person - and that's why I've been able to take the losses on the chin. But it's nice to play to my potential after all this time."
Pinches began the final session with a 6-2 lead but twice had his advantage cut to two frames. He kept his cool, though, to make a testing 38 clearance to reach the last eight.Reuse content