THE top seeds are tumbling at the williamhill.com UK Championship.
Mark Williams, the world number five and a two-time winner of the event, joined Judd Trump and Mark Allen in crashing out of the game’s second biggest tournament – beaten 6-3 by Mark King at the Barbican.
King, ranked 27 places below the former world champion, grew in confidence as an out-of-touch Williams struggled throughout.
A semi-finalist at York in 2004, having beaten Williams then as well, will now meet the winner of the Ricky Walden-Luca Brecel game, which was finely poised at 4-4 late last night.
A hugely disappointed Williams said: “The exact words I would like to say could get me a fine.
“I was just terrible. I played absolutely shocking.
“When I was out there, I felt all right but I couldn’t pot three balls on the trot. The table was absolutely beautiful, there was a crowd out there, it was everything you want to be involved in a match and then you go and play like that.
“It is getting boring coming in and saying how bad I am playing.”
King, meanwhile, was delighted.
“I am over the moon to win. I played pretty solidly. He missed a couple he shouldn’t have done but you take whatever is there. I controlled it pretty well.
“I thought I put him under pressure and my safety game was good. I am happy.”
King lost the first frame but levelled with 57 and took the lead in the next with efforts of 49 and 42 as Williams’ fabled long potting deserted him.
The fourth frame hung on a moment of honesty from the Welshman.
After being let in by King and with the balls nicely spread, he called a foul on himself after touching a red on a cushion when leaning over to take on a pot.
King’s 33 was just enough to get him over the line and the two-time UK champion was in some difficulty at 3-1 behind.
It soon got worse.
A great pot on the bottom cushion extended King’s advantage before he produced a brilliant break of 103 to leave the world number five one frame away from a crushing defeat.
Williams rallied briefly, taking the next and finally kicking into life with a fine 105 to make it 5-3, but was merely delaying the inevitable.
That came when King, after gaining the advantage with 52, nailed a plant in the bottom corner to secure an excellent scalp.