2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy failed to qualify for the Yushan World Open after suffering a surprise 5-4 defeat to Mei Xiwen.
Murphy was the heavy favourite going into the tournament and had already won the previous two meetings between the pair. However, he was humbled on Saturday as Mei continued his fine run in Preston.
He went into the match in good form after already qualifying for the Riga Masters last week by beating Iran’s Soheil Vahedi. The Chinese star was 4-3 behind with two frames to go but he won the two in a row he needed to knock out Murphy, who enjoyed Champion of Champions title success last season.
Another heroic comeback was also achieved by Amateur David Lilley as he beat Li Hang 5-4 in the same session. Lilley looked doomed at one point and was 4-2 down before he came roaring back and won thanks to breaks of 93, 51 and 59.
England’s Kyren Wilson overcame a tough test as he just did enough to beat Nigel Bond 5-3. The world number nine was 3-2 down at one point but some impressive play got him over the line. His top break of 68 gave him the advantage and he will now look forward to the tournament proper which runs from August 6-12.
Zhang Anda also won a final-frame decider to knock out Stuart Bingham, while Rod Lawler also progressed after winning a gruelling final frame against 2016 Northern Ireland Open champion Mark King. Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins are also through to the tournament in Yushan after wins over Peter Lines and Alfie Burden respectively.