Ding suffers shock defeat by Perry in Masters first round
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Best shots as Perry end Ding’s Masters bidDing Junhui suffered a shock 6-3 defeat by Joe Perry in the opening match of this year’s Masters in London.The Chinese player arrived in fine form having won the UK Championship in York last month, but despite a 135 break in frame two, he was never ahead.Englishman Perry, the world number 16 who reached the final of this event in 2017, was too consistent and breaks of 71, 93 and 83 secured victory. In Sunday’s evening match, three-time winner Mark Selby faces Ali Carter.Perry was the rank outsider coming into the Masters, but he was inspired by returning to Alexandra Palace for the first time since that appearance in the final when he lost 10-7.The first four frames were shared but the 45-year-old found his game after the interval with more fluent break-building. He will now play either Shaun Murphy or world number one and defending champion Judd Trump in the quarter-finals.”It feels like a long time since that final,” said Perry. “But I was just so pleased to get back in the top 16. I’m 45 now and it’s getting harder. These young players are so good.”So I just tried to make the most of it and enjoy it and I really did.” Ding won the Masters in 2011 but his fortunes in the event have dipped since then as he has won just three of his last 12 matches.Meanwhile, governing body the World Snooker Tour (WST) says it will match Neil Robertson’s contribution to the Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation amid the ongoing bushfire crisis in the country.Australian Robertson says he will donate £100 for each century made by all players at this year’s Masters, as well as contributing an additional £5,000.