Snooker - O'Sullivan dealt first defeat of year

Ronnie O'Sullivan's perfect start to 2014 came to end with a 4-3 defeat to Yu Delu in the last 16 of the Players Championship Grand Final in Preston.

Snooker - O'Sullivan dealt first defeat of year

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Ronnie O'Sullivan (AFP)

O'Sullivan, who won the Masters and the Welsh Open earlier this year, became the latest high-profile casualty after just his second match at the Guildhall.

Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Stuart Bingham - the four top-ranked players in the world - have also been sent packing early from the tournament.

The prized scalp for Yu, ranked 48 in the world, means the Chinese will contest his first quarter-final in a ranking event against Barry Hawkins, who edged Ryan Day 4-3 in a late-finishing match.

O'Sullivan said: "I played okay today but he is a very good player. I started slowly and that cost me. Sometimes a defeat can do you good because having won the Masters and the Welsh I was wondering when the run would come to an end. I can knuckle down now and get my game into shape."

Judd Trump eased into the last eight with a comfortable 4-0 win over Haikou World Open champion Shaun Murphy and will now play Joe Perry for a place in the semi-finals. Perry booked his place with a 4-1 win over David Gilbert.

"My safety was good and my positional play was the best it's been for a while," said Trump. "When Ronnie goes out, everyone perks up a bit and thinks they have a better chance of winning, but I've got a tough game next against Joe, he has beaten me the last couple of times we've played so he's favourite."

Gerard Greene came back from 3-0 down to beat Anthony Hamilton 4-3, while there were also wins for Mark Allen, Marco Fu and John Higgins.

Round of 16 results:

Gerard Greene [18] 4-3 Anthony Hamilton [29]

Judd Trump [11] 4-0 Shaun Murphy [5]

Yu Delu [31] 4-3 Ronnie O'Sullivan [3]

Mark Allen [1] 4 -1 Fergal O'Brien [12]

Joe Perry [14] 4 -1 David Gilbert [22]

Marco Fu [15] 4-2 Mark J Williams [4]

John Higgins [6] 4-2 Ben Woollaston [21]

Barry Hawkins [30] 4-3 Ryan Day [24]

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