REIGNING world champion Luca Brecel kicked off his bid for a first MrQ UK Championship title with a 6-4 victory over Chinese youngster Yuan Sijun at the York Barbican.

Brecel made a strong start, scoring century breaks of 127 and 108 as he rallied from 2-1 down to lead 4-2.

Sijun responded to level the scores at 4-4 but Crucible champion Brecel showed his class to clinch the final two frames and book his place in the last 16.

"I won, that is the positive thing," Brecel told BBC Sport. "When I was 4-2 up I wasn't really there any more (mentally). It is really tough for me to keep the focus. When it went 4-4 that is when I got better.

"It feels like now I need to go back to work and I just need something to spur me on. It was not my best game but I still feel motivated.”

Elsewhere on the opening weekend of the UK Championship, defending champion Mark Allen suffered a 6-5 defeat to thrice UK winner Ding Junhui in a repeat of last year’s final, despite the latter considering withdrawing due to illness.

Three-time world champion Mark Williams overcame China’s Fan Zhengyi 6-4 while International Championship winner Zhang Anda edged past Elliot Slessor of Gateshead 6-5.

Three top 10 seeds fell at the first hurdle, including 2008 UK champion Shaun Murphy. The world number seven went down 6-4 to Iranian Hossein Vafaei.

Eighth seed Kyren Wilson suffered a dramatic 6-5 loss to 60th seed Jamie Clarke, with the Welshman producing a stirring comeback having trailed 5-1.

Twice World Championship finalist and world number 10 Ali Carter lost out to Matthew Selt, who hit century breaks of 111 and 102 en route to a 6-3 victory.

Meanwhile, two-time UK Championship semi-finalist Tom Ford came from 5-1 down to beat Noppon Saengkham 6-5.