Ronnie O’Sullivan suffers shock UK Snooker Championship loss

Dates: 23 November to 6 December Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app from Saturday, 28 November.

World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered a shock 6-5 defeat by world number 66 Alexander Ursenbacher in the second round of the UK Championship.

O’Sullivan looked out of sorts for much of the contest and was beaten in a final-frame decider.

Switzerland’s Ursenbacher started brightly and opened up a 3-1 advantage, but O’Sullivan hit back for 4-4.

The Englishman went in front for the first time, but Ursenbacher took back-to-back frames for a famous victory.

Meanwhile, two-time champion Mark Selby made breaks of 95, 75 and 69 in a comfortable 6-1 win over Liam Highfield, while Masters champion Stuart Bingham beat Andrew Higginson by the same scoreline.

Meanwhile, China’s Lu Ning put together a stunning performance with four straight centuries in his 6-0 whitewash of Matthew Selt.

In Sunday evening’s session, World Championship finalist Kyren Wilson secured a comfortable 6-2 win over Mark Joyce, making breaks of 51, 97, 82 and 62.

Two-time champion Mark Williams of Wales also made it through with a 6-2 triumph over Thailand’s Sunny Akani.

However, the 2008 champion Shaun Murphy was on the receiving end of a heavy 6-1 defeat by Elliot Slessor, with the world number 56 compiling impressive breaks of 111, 72 and 118.

‘Embarrassed’ O’Sullivan offers no excuses

O’Sullivan came into Sunday’s match after seeing defending champion Ding Junhui and Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen suffer surprise second-round losses the previous day.

But an error-strewn performance by the 44-year-old, who had a high break of 68, meant another big name went out early in Milton Keynes.

O’Sullivan, who lost in the Northern Ireland Open final to Judd Trump last Sunday, told BBC Sport: “He played well and deserved his victory. It would have been robbery if I had won; he would have been really devastated. I had no right to be in that game and missed far too many balls.

“I am not going to make excuses – the guy played well and good luck to the fella. Hopefully he can go on and win a few more matches.

“I wasn’t that frustrated, I just could not pot any balls. I felt embarrassed and could not put anything together. To get it to 5-4, I was thinking: ‘If can get over the line I have stolen it.’

“You only win matches if you deserve to. I deserved to lose.”

Ursenbacher, 24, has reached just one semi-final during his career, at the English Open in 2017, and picked up another win over O’Sullivan after beating him at the Welsh Open last year.

Afterwards, he said he was “a bit relieved”, adding: “I know I am capable of beating him and he did not really turn up today, it made it a bit easier but I am still proud to win.

“I was fancying it at 5-5 all day long. I wanted to play Ronnie in a big event and that would be a big test for me. I was full of confidence.”

Ursenbacher shows ‘bottle’ – analysis

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry on BBC Two:

“A fabulous final frame. No unforced errors there and he has got bottle. That is one of the most important things you need to be successful in any sport, especially snooker in these deciding frames. The opening red he potted to get going was majestic.”

Ken Doherty, 1997 world champion:

“A great win for him. The final frame was not his best one, how well he held himself together. He knocked a couple of great reds in and kept his best until the last.

“To have any sort of win over Ronnie would calm you down a little bit. I thought he would be more nervous in that final frame, but he was very composed and kept himself together for a huge win.”

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