Ding Junhui's hopes of becoming the first Chinese player to win the world snooker title will have to be put on hold for another year following a 13-7 quarter-final defeat by England's Barry Hawkins at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre on Tuesday.
The match was still in the balance, with Hawkins only two frames in front at 9-7, when the best of 25-frame contest resumed Tuesday. But Hawkins made short work of former UK and Masters champion Ding by reeling off the four frames he needed to claim his second major scalp of the tournament.
Hawkins defeated world number one Mark Selby and Ding's side of the draw also saw early exits for Australian former world champion Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire.
Six previous visits to the Crucible had resulted in Ding just once before going beyond the second round, when he lost to Judd Trump in the 2011 semi-finals.
But after defeating England's Mark King to book a place in this year's last eight, the Chinese cue man, who is based in the northern English city of Sheffield, said he felt more at home in the Crucible than in front of an adoring home crowd in China, where snooker is a fast-growing sport.
However, he failed to reach the heights he hit against King, who said on that form even current world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan would struggle to beat him, with Ding largely listless in defeat by Hawkins.