Zhao Xintong and Kyren Wilson crash out of World Grand Prix
UK champion Zhao Xintong came crashing back down to earth as he was beaten 4-2 by Martin Gould in the opening round of the World Grand Prix on Monday.
The man of the moment, Zhao captured the first Triple Crown event of his career in spectacular fashion in York eight days ago.
That saw him rise to ninth in the world rankings, qualify for the Masters and arrive at the Coventry Building Society Arena as the top seed for this event.
Following a lacklustre start from both players, the Cyclone appeared to have found his feet with a brilliant break of 101 to go 2-1 up.
However, having snuck into the tournament through the back door as the 32nd seed, Gould was eager to capitalise on his opportunity.
The former German Masters champion – and 2015 World Grand Prix semi-finalist – levelled, before runs of 52 and 79 sealed an impressive win and handed his opponent a painful reality check.
Gould’s reward is a showdown with Masters champion Yan Bingtao, who hit a top break of 111 as he marked the beginning of his sixth successive appearance at the tournament with a 4-1 victory over Mark King.
Kyren Wilson also fell at the first hurdle following a 4-3 defeat by Anthony Hamilton.
Hamilton failed to register a single frame on his only previous appearance in this event in 2017, but averted a repeat of that by scoring 165 points without reply to take a 2-0 lead.
World number five Wilson responded by winning the next three – with a top break of 114 along the way – to turn the contest on its head.
Nevertheless, the Sheriff stopped the rot with a timely 99 before controlling the decider to progress to the second round.
Elsewhere, 2020 runner-up Jack Lisowski also overcame Mark Williams in a deciding frame to edge an entertaining battle of the left-handers.
After the first two frames were shared, Jackpot took a scrappy third and the contest burst into life as three-time World champion Williams – back in action following a battle with the after-effects of COVID-19 that forced him to miss the Scottish Open – moved to the brink of victory with breaks of 117 and 77.
But six-time ranking event finalist Lisowski hit back with 74 to force a decider, in which he produced a lovely 94 clearance to scrape through.
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World Grand Prix Snooker 2021 Results
Monday December 13
Zhao Xintong 2-4 Martin Gould
Yan Bingtao 4-1 Mark King
Kyren Wilson 3-4 Anthony Hamilton
Mark Williams 3-4 Jack Lisowski