World number one Ding Junhui admits he is regretting a lack of match practice after falling at the first hurdle in defence of his German Masters title in Berlin.
The Sheffield-based potter beat Judd Trump to lift the trophy at the Tempodrom 12 months ago, but went down 5-4 to Ryan Day in the first round this time around on Thursday.
His triumph last year was one of a record-equalling five ranking title victories in a season but the 27-year-old admits playing less tournaments this year means he has struggled to recapture that form.
“I haven’t played in any of the European Tour events this season and maybe I should have played more,” he said.
“I’m trying hard and practising for five hours every day but I haven’t had much luck in the tournaments.
“Last season was so good and it’s hard to repeat that.”
The Chinese superstar had a glorious opportunity to seal victory in frame eight but missed the match-ball pink, allowing Day to steal in before the Welshman produced a run of 82 to clinch the decider.
And Ding believes that pink was the turning point.
“On the pink, I mis-hit it slightly because the cue ball was too far away from my cue,” he added.
“I had confidence coming here, but it just hasn’t been a good year for me. I’ll wait for the next tournament now.
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