Si Jiahui kept his nerve on edge in a swinging final shootout to clinch another famous upset victory over Shaun Murphy and a place in the second round of the World Snooker Championship.
Murphy was wanted at the Crucible this year after triumphing in both the Players Championship and Tour Championship, but fell 9-6 to world number 80, the lowest-ranked player in the tournament.
The 2005 champion made it three frames in a row to set up a decider, where Si struck the front with a break of 56 and while a split attempt by the Reds went awry, the 20-year-old Chinese remained focused.
Despite Murphy giving himself a chance with a superb long dribble, firing off another red, he ran out of position and fouled three times shortly after trying to get out of an awkward snooker.
Si duly wrapped up a 10-9 win, his second over Murphy, who caused controversy when he said after his first loss to the then-amateur in the 2021 UK Championship that he “lost to someone who shouldn’t even be in the building.” ”.
Murphy has admitted in the build-up to this match that he regretted his actions at the time and there was no chill at the end of the match with a polite handshake as Si raised his fist to the crowd.
As Murphy faces a second successive first round defeat in Sheffield and his third in four years, Si can now look forward to a meeting with Robert Milkins, who was also taken to the final frame when he produced a memorable comeback to beat Joe Perry. 10-9 in their reshuffled contest.
The pair’s match was disrupted earlier this week when a man wearing a ‘Just Stop Oil’ T-shirt jumped onto table one and hurled orange powder onto the cloth.
Attendees of Monday night’s game received free tickets from the event organizers to Thursday’s unscheduled morning session at the Crucible, and watched Milkins defy the odds to reach the last 16.
Perry entered the morning session that began at 09:30, the earliest start for a World Championship match, with a 7-2 lead in the best-of-19 matchup.
However, Milkins, who won the Welsh Open in February, took the first two frames of the session to move within three frames of his opponent.
Perry responded by winning the next frame only for Milkins to immediately respond by moving back within three frames, then cutting Perry’s lead to two after the former semi-finalist missed a simple brown.
A berserk Perry, then botched his lines when he stuffed a red into the middle pocket with a relentless Milkins making no mistake by moving to one behind, then leveled to set up a three-frame shootout.
Milkins secured the next frame to put him on the verge of glory before Perry scrambled to produce a 63 clearance and push the match to a decider.
But it was Milkins who kept the nerve to clinch the final frame and seal a memorable comeback. He will face either Shaun Murphy or Si Jiahui in the next round.
Mark Selby overcame a determined challenge from qualifier Matthew Selt as the four-time champion began his bid for a fifth crown with a hard-fought 10-8 win.
Selby led 6-3 overnight before advancing 8-4 on Thursday afternoon, but Selt refused to back down in an increasingly grueling battle to cut the deficit to 9-8.
But Selby, winner of this event in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021, notched a break of 112 to wrap up the win and set up a clash with Gary Wilson in the next round.
Elsewhere, three-time champion Mark Williams and qualifier Luca Brecel were tied at 4-4 after the first session of their second-round encounter, while Mark Allen holds a 5-3 lead over Stuart Bingham.