Ronnie O’Sullivan was whitewashed in a Triple Crown event for the first time as he lost 6-0 to Ding Junhui in the UK Championship quarter-finals.
World champion O’Sullivan, 46, had been favourite to win the tournament in York for an eighth time but never fired after a tight opening two frames.
The Englishman only scored four points in the next four frames as three-time UK Championship winner Ding dominated.
“Ding’s a class act and I’d like to see him go and win now,” said O’Sullivan.
China’s Ding sealed his place in the semi-finals with a 131 break having earlier compiled runs of 94, 87 and 87. He will meet Tom Ford after the world number 32 overcame Joe Perry 6-4.
Earlier in the week, O’Sullivan had said he was under no pressure and snooker was “insignificant” to him, comments which were criticised by fellow quarter-finalist Shaun Murphy.
O’Sullivan, who has won 21 Triple Crown events in all – with seven victories also in the world championship and Masters, did not appear overly concerned by the scoreline against qualifier Ding.
“Yeah, that’s really going to harm my career that one isn’t it?” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“I’ve been in this game 30 years and taken some knocks along the way. Like I said, it doesn’t matter to me.
“Some days you play and it goes great and some days it doesn’t. It was just one of those days, what can you do?”
The result continued a run of shocks in the tournament, and means none of the top 10 seeds will be in the semi-finals.
O’Sullivan looked totally out of sorts – summed up by a missed black off its spot in the opening frame.
“I’m not surprised because my bad has been better than other people’s bad, I’ve said that all week,” added O’Sullivan.
“I’ve had a good run, so I can’t complain and I get some time off now.
“Ding played fantastically well. It’s brilliant to see Ding play like that and I wish he played like that more because he’s so good for the game.”
Triple UK champion Ding has fallen to 38 in the world rankings, but O’Sullivan feels he is better suited by the bigger occasions.
“Ding doesn’t thrive in the smaller venues with no crowds. You don’t put a racehorse in some mucky old course – that won’t bring the best out of it,” he said.
Ding, 35, said: “I played well, I got my chances and had a bit of luck.
“It’s difficult to play Ronnie, I know when I’m in front he can come back very quickly. But today he didn’t look like he could do it.”
Perry, 48, had breaks of 101, 70 and 66, but Ford, 39, triumphed with runs of 103, 86, 66, 62 and a match-winning 52 to reach his first UK semi-final since 2018.
Ford clinched victory in the 10th frame after losing the previous frame when missing a straightforward red, which would have effectively sealed victory.