sport

Trump taken out by Joyce

World number one Judd Trump saw his hopes of defending the UK Championship title shattered by a first-round exit at the hands of Mark Joyce.

A year after landing the biggest title of his burgeoning career at York's Barbican Centre, Trump was on the painful end of one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history, the world number one losing 6-5 to 50th-ranked Joyce after at one stage holding a 5-2 lead.

Trump said: "I should never play that bad. You'll never see another world number one play as badly as that."

He had made a 104 break in the second frame and was doing enough, it seemed, to set up a second-round clash with Ali Carter, but Joyce had other ideas and the long road back from the brink of defeat had the biggest victory of his career at its end.

"It's just a bad performance. It was going to come sooner or later," said 23-year-old Trump, the man tipped in recent days by many, including Stephen Hendry, to be the dominant force in snooker for the next decade.

"He played all right in the last four frames but he'll have to raise his game a lot to get close to Ali Carter."

Trump's defeat means Mark Selby can reclaim the number one ranking by reaching next Sunday's final, while Joyce can target the quarter-finals for the second time in his career.

The Walsall man, now 29, knocked out Carter first and then Trump to reach the last eight in 2010, the last year that Telford staged the UK Championship, and the draw has convinced him he might be fated to do the same again.

"I'm over the moon. It wasn't a vintage performance by any means," Joyce said.

"It's the hardest game in the world when you're under pressure and every shot looks hard, every shot's a pint of blood.

"I've got Ali Carter now and I beat him two years ago so hopefully I can do him as well."

Joyce has recently revealed how he sustained the arm injury that sidelined him soon after his run in Telford, setting his career back.

"Just after the UK two years ago I got attacked and had a fractured elbow and a fractured eye socket, which ruined the rest of that season," he said. "Physically it cost me four months but mentally it cost me a lot longer."

Carter was a scrappy winner against Steve Davis, coming through 6-2 against the man who won this tournament six times in the 1980s.

Both men struggled for fluency, Carter's highest break of 88 and an 85 from Davis in the seventh frame out of keeping with the flow of the match.

Yet Carter was the more consistent of the two, with the 33-year-old from Tiptree too strong for the 55-year-old Brentwood veteran.

Davis, competing in his 33rd UK Championship, lamented his own performance but said: "Ali's a potential winner of the tournament so I shouldn't moan."

China's last hope Cao Yupeng became the third player from snooker's boom nation to make a first-round exit.

Cao tumbled out 6-1 against 40-year-old Hastings potter Mark Davis, completing a casualty list of Chinese players that began with yesterday's defeats for Liang Wenbo and former UK champion Ding Junhui.

With soaring interest and money flooding into the game from China, there are more major tournaments staged in the country than in the United Kingdom, but on the table there remains a gulf in standards.

Mark Davis plays John Higgins next, on Wednesday evening.

Shaun Murphy was UK champion in 2008 and the Manchester-based 30-year-old began another campaign with a comfortable enough 6-3 win over Gloucester's Robert Milkins.

Seven years have passed since Murphy made his big breakthrough by winning the World Championship.

He has four major ranking titles in all, and was a beaten finalist at the Masters in January, but the trophy tally should be higher according to the world number four - and his mother.

"My mum keeps telling me I should have won more and mums are normally right," Murphy said.