DEFENDING German Masters champion Ali Carter suffered a shock 5-4 first-round exit to Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng on Wednesday in Berlin.
World No17 Carter enjoyed one of the best moments of his career at the Tempodrom 12 months ago when beating Marco Fu 9-6 in the final.
But the 34-year-old from Chelmsford lost the final three frames from 4-2 ahead against the world No60 to slump to a disappointing defeat.
Poomjaeng, who caused a sensation at the World Championships last year by knocking out world No5 Stephen Maguire, will now play Xiao Guodong for a place in the last 16.
Afterwards Crohn’s disease sufferer Carter, 34, admitted that he still had plenty more to worry about than an early exit.
He said: “It isn’t the way I wanted to come back and defend my title here after what was a great moment for me 12 months ago.
“But everything has been pretty terrible for me from this time last year. The medical problems I have are not going anywhere.
“Mentally it has done my head in a bit, I have other problems to deal with so I just have to keep punching and hope it gets better.
“I came here knowing it might catch up with me, it is hard to churn out performances. Was it right for me being at the Shootout and not practising before a big tournament? Maybe not.
“I went up there on the Thursday, played 10 minutes Friday, 10 minutes Saturday, 10 minutes Sunday, and it’s five days without playing proper snooker before a big event.
“I was sitting out there today thinking I am going to have to have a real look at how I do things from here on.”
Jimmy White’s battle to save his tour place became that bit harder after a comprehensive 5-1 loss to this season’s Shanghai Masters finalist Guodong.
The Whirlwind stands 62nd on the provisional money list from which spots will be allocated, with just the top 64 guaranteed to stay on.
White has enjoyed an illustrious 34-year career, winning 10 ranking titles – but is still if anything better known for losing six World Championship finals at the Crucible.
The 51-year-old now has the World Open in Haikou, the Welsh Open, the China Open, the World Championship qualifiers and the European Tour event in Poland in February to boost his earnings and chances.
Guodong, 24, took full advantage of a couple of kicks suffered by White, and finished with a flourish and a clearance of 138.
White said: “I am not even thinking about the possibility of losing my place on the tour, or having to go to Qualifying School.
“I had two horrendous kicks that cost me two frames – it is sickening, because I am playing well and in the position I am in I need to win.
“One kick came when I should have gone 2-2, and then another later in the match. It is very disappointing.
“You have to take it one match at a time, and hopefully I can get to Sheffield at the end of the season without the pressure of trying to win to stay on the tour.
“What gives me hope is that I am playing okay, it would be worse and I would be more concerned if I was struggling with my game.
“I have tournaments coming up to get myself out of the situation. I have been here before and under pressure have won to stay on the tour.”
It was a good day for Yorkshire in Berlin, with both Paul Davison and Peter Lines springing surprises. Pickering's Davison upset Marco Fu 5-2, while Leeds' Lines saw off the in-form Stuart Bingham 5-3.
World No2 Mark Selby knocked in breaks of 105 and 80 in reeling off five frames on the spin against Jimmy Robertson to secure a 5-1 victory.
And there also comfortable 5-1 wins for China’s Ding Junhui against Mike Dunn, and Wales’s Mark Williams over Ireland’s David Morris.
In the first match on the only table of the eight set up away from the main Tempodrom arena Kurt Maflin beat Tom Ford 5-2.
Both players were unhappy both with the playing conditions and the surreal atmosphere in front of a sparse crowd.
And Leicester’s Ford was formally warned for using bad language in expressing that dissatisfaction to referee Greg Coniglio.
Photographs by Monique Limbos