• Players Championship

Defending champion Ding stunned in opening round

ESPN staff
March 25, 2014
Ding Junhui conceded a 3-0 advantage at Preston's Guild Hall © Getty Images

Defending champion Ding Junhui was stunned by 28th seed Ben Woollaston in the opening round of the Players Championship Grand Final at Preston's Guild Hall.

Ding, the world No.3 and already a four-time ranking title winner this season, was in complete control fo the best-of-seven tie when he raced into a 3-0 lead.

But Woollaston produced the unthinkable to come back and move into the second round.

"It's a big win but it will only be good for me if I go further now, so I need to back it up in my next match," Woollaston told WorldSnooker.com.

"If I can do well here it would be a massive boost ahead of the World Championship."

Woollaston will face four-time world champion John Higgins in the next round of the 32-man tournament after the Scot beat Jimmy Robertson 4-2.

World No.1 Neil Robertson was also knocked out, succumbing 4-2 to last week's World Open winner Shaun Murphy, while 11th seed Ricky Walden was stunned by qualifier Gerard Green.

Elsewhere, Anthony Hamilton edged Sam Baird 4-3, while Mark Williams cruised past Lyu Haotian 4-1.

In the final session, Marco Fu whitewashed Gary Wilson 4-0, while Judd Trump moved on with a 4-1 win over Ju Reti.

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