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Ursenbacher subjects O’Sullivan to shock early exit at the UK Championship

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Ronnie O'Sullivan is the defending champion (credit:Richard Sellers/PA Images)

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Ursenbacher books his place in Round Three

Alexander Ursenbacher sent a below-par Ronnie O’Sullivan crashing out of the 2020 UK Championship in Round Two with a shock 6-5 victory on Sunday.

The Swiss star, 24, had previously defeated O’Sullivan in the 2019 Welsh Open and made it two wins from two by holding his nerve in a last-frame decider in Milton Keynes.

An out of sorts O’Sullivan struggled to find his form for the majority of the match and was duly punished as the world number 66 booked his place in the Last 32 of the tournament for the first time.

“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,” said Ursenbacher.

“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, who had failed to win a match in his prevvious five UK Championship appearances, took the opening frame confidently with a break of 67.

He then dominated the second to double his lead before O’Sullivan got off the mark with a break of 68.

Ursenbacher edged frame four to lead 3-1 at the interval, and after the pair exchanged the next two frames, O’Sullivan made a 51 break to claw back to 4-3 behind.

The seven-time UK Champion went on to level the match before punishing a missed black off the spot from his opponent with a 49 break to go 5-4 in front.

Ursenbacher, though, recovered well to force a decider, and after potting a red from range, did the damage in two significant visits to reign The Rocket to a shock defeat.

“He played well and deserved his victory. It would have been robbery if I had won; he would have been really devastated,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport.

“I had no right to be in that game and missed far too many balls.

“I’m 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.”

O’Sullivan joins defending champion Ding Junhui and Champion of Champions winner Mark Allen in crashing out at the Last 64 stage at the Marshall Arena.

Ursenbacher will now face either Northern Ireland’s Jordan Brown or Jamie Jones of Wales in the Last 32.

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