New UK champion Mark Allen was sent crashing back to earth after suffering a 5-0 whitewash defeat to Chinese amateur Zhao Jianbo in German Masters qualifying in Leicester.
The Antrim man claimed the UK Championship on Sunday evening after recovering from 6-1 behind to complete a 10-7 win over Ding Junhui in York, but could not find his form at the Morningside Arena on Wednesday afternoon.
Allen looked sharp in a 5-2 win in the first round against Peter Lines on Tuesday, but could muster only 42 points in five frames as 19-year-old Zhao – who lost his professional tour card earlier this year – made breaks of 85, 58, 61 and 77 to secure a trip to Berlin to face Jimmy Robertson in the last 32.
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Allen's defeat came less than 24 hours after world No. 2 Mark Selby lost 5-4 to rookie Peng Yisong in the opening round of qualifying.
World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan had suggested there would be a "target on his back" after Allen claimed a second ranking title of the campaign following his Northern Ireland Open victory.
“He has started to win tournaments while not playing great, so naturally there will be a bit of a target on his back now," O'Sullivan told Eurosport. "The [other players] will be revved up to play him.
“A lot of players will be sitting down thinking, ‘I want to get into him’, so it's going to be different now."
Jimmy White emulated his run to the last 32 of the UK Championship by sealing his spot in Berlin courtesy of a 5-2 win against 2016 German Masters champion Martin Gould.
White led 4-1 after responding to a 68 from Gould in the second frame with a 63 in the third and finalised his progressed with a closing run of 68.
He will meet Selby's conqueror Peng in Berlin after his rousing recovery against Ian Burns from 4-1 behind in a 5-4 win.
World No. 8 Kyren Wilson had no such difficulty in a heavy-scoring 5-0 victory against former world seniors champion David Lilley that included runs of 119, 109, 70 and 75.
He will take on Sam Craigie at the Tempodrom early next year.
2020 finalist Neil Robertson compiled 50, 69, 104, 72 and 64 in a 5-2 win over Alexander Ursenbacher to secure his trip to Germany.
The last 32 qualify for the finals venue in Berlin between February 1-5, 2023, live on discovery+ and Eurosport.
‘There is a target on his back now’ – O’Sullivan says other players will be revved up to play Allen
- Allen, Robertson and Zhao enjoy wins at German Masters qualifiers
- Craigie stuns Maguire in German Masters qualifying, Doherty rolls back years, Day out
- O'Sullivan withdraws from German Masters
Wednesday's German Masters qualifying results
- Hossein Vafaei 5-4 Aaron Hill
- James Cahill 5-2 Zhou Yuelong
- Xiao Guodong 5-3 Alfie Burden
- Zhang Anda 5-0 Craig Steadman
- Jackson Page 5-1 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
- Jack Lisowski 5-2 Duane Jones
- Liam Highfield 5-4 Mohamed Ibrahim
- Ali Carter 5-2 Stuart Carrington
- Sanderson Lam 5-2 Lu Ning
- Ross Muir 5-1 Oliver Brown
- Robbie Williams 5-0 Victor Sarkis
- Elliot Slessor 5-4 Chen Zifan
- Mark Allen 0-5 Zhao Jianbo
- Kyren Wilson 5-0 David Lilley
- Jimmy White 5-2 Martin Gould
- Yan Bingtao 5-2 David Grace
- Neil Robertson 5-2 Alexander Ursenbacher
- Peng Yisong 5-4 Ian Burns
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