Ding history bid ended
Ding Junhui's bid for a historic fourth straight ranking title was ended by Ricky Walden in the last 16 of the UK Championship.
Ding had won the Shanghai Masters, the Indian Open and the International Championship, and victory in York would have brought him the longest win of ranking victories since Stephen Hendry's five in 1990.
But Walden pulled out a hard-fought 6-4 victory after a tense finish to the 10th frame.
Stuart Bingham enjoyed an easier time on the other table, beating Irish surprise package David Morris 6-1.
Ding responded to losing the first frame with a 63 to level, but trailed 3-1 at the interval after an equal break from Walden.
The Chinese player came back to 3-3, making 76 in the first frame back, but Walden won the seventh on the black with a superb pot.
He moved 5-3 clear before Ding pulled one back with a 135 and the next lasted more than 50 minutes, coming down to a battle on the pink.
Walden was resigned to a final frame after leaving the ball over a pocket, but Ding amazingly missed the chance and left an equally straightforward one which Walden took.
"It was pretty tense towards the end, we both had a couple of chances to win that frame," said the Chester cueman.
"I was sat in my chair ready for a decider, thinking 'I can't believe I've messed this one up'. I got a bit of luck there, to be fair, but thankfully today was my day."
Ding said of the fateful missed pink: "My cue action didn't work, the cue turned in my hand.
"The match was not good today. It's difficult to play Ricky, he gave very few chances. Every frame he scored heavily and he didn't leave any long ones, it was good safety.
"Anybody can win, maybe the next games he's going to play better and better so you don't know who's going to win. I wish best wishes for him."
Wednesday's other early game was the biggest by far of Morris' career, after he returned to the tour only this season.
He looked assured early on, with breaks of 41 and 64 to win frame two despite the black being out of commission.
But Bingham responded with two 40s in the next and led 3-1 at the mid-session interval.
Morris needed to build momentum upon the restart but breaks of 60 and 54 put Bingham in complete command.
"It was a bit of a flattering scoreline," said Bingham. "David made it tough for me early on and I was lucky to be 3-1 up - he had chances to be 3-1 up himself.
"I came out after the break and put a couple of good breaks together, to go 5-1, and then got over the line."
But Morris added: "He was the better player from start to finish. His long potting was very good and he just outplayed me. No complaints."
The afternoon session sees Mark Selby taking on Graeme Dott while Judd Trump and Mark Allen go head to head for the chance to face Walden.
He said: "They're both cracking players, they don't get any easier in this one. I'm just happy that I'm still batting."
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