Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered a stunning shock defeat to teenage rookie Aaron Hill last night in his first match since winning a sixth world title.
The Rocket went down 5-4 to the 18-year-old from Cork at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Six-time and reigning world champion O’Sullivan, 44, arrived at the venue relaxed after a stay at a luxury health spa.
Things soon looked more tense as he trailed 3-1, though O’Sullivan hit back to lead 4-3 – but Hill rallied superbly to seal a famous win.
O’Sullivan had to wait for his first match since winning the World Championship at the Crucible last month after first-round opponent Daniel Wells failed a Covid-19 test.
He said: “Look, I had my chances and if you don’t take them then this can happen.
“Things didn’t go my way in the decider, there were a couple of flukes and he held himself together pretty well.”
Hill said: “I am almost speechless. He has always been my hero, but I wasn’t out there just happy to be in the same arena. I wanted to win.
“And I am just so pleased to win for myself and for my family and everyone back in Cork. My phone has gone mad since I finished.
“At 3-1 up I thought I was favourite and could have gone 4-1 - but after the interval he came back well. However I still told myself I’d have taken 4-3 down at the start, and that helped.
“I told myself to go out an enjoy it and that I had nothing to lose, and it is a fantastic win so early in my professional career.
“His comment about there being no good young players coming through was in my mind, and hopefully I have shown him there is some talent there.”
Meanwhile rapping rookie Peter Devlin stunned three-time world champion Mark Williams.
The 24-year-old from east London is a former child TV actor who makes Youtube rap videos that have earned over a million views.
He won a tour card last month - and after almost blowing a big lead produced a magnificent first career century in the decider to seal a 5-4 victory.
Devlin said: “One day maybe I’ll get to come into the arena with one of my own songs as walk-on music.
“What a time to make the first century of my pro career, against someone like Mark on a TV table in a big tournament.
“The way my life has changed in the last few weeks is incredible - I didn’t realise the opportunities would come along as soon as this. Beating Mark is unreal.
“I started rapping at school because I wanted to be more ‘street’ to get in with the cool kids. I was amazed when one got 100,000 views.”