There has been some great snooker so far at the Crucible, but there’s only one player who has managed a ‘perfect’ session of green baize brilliance.
Yesterday Neil Robertson was that man, although the Aussie ace narrowly missed out on a special record in the process of sending Mark Allen crashing out with a stunning 13-7 win.
Robertson is gunning to become the first player in the history of the game to register a staggering hundred century breaks in the same season.
The previous record of 61 was set by potting sensation Judd Trump last season. Robertson has bettered that though - and by some.
But even the world No 1 can fluff his lines on the biggest stage of all.
Having pocketed four centuries in a first round win, Robertson took his impressive centuries’ tally to 97.
He knocked in breaks of 100 and 137 to sneak up to 99, but with the winning line in sight against Allen squandered two excellent chances toreach the magical milestone.
In the penultimate frame he missed a routine black off its spot on a break of 94 – and then missed the penultimate red on a run of 92 in the final frame.
It was agonising to watch, as Robertson admitted himself afterwards.
“I felt like a cricketer on 99 not out when I was going for that 100th century and I had my celebration all worked out.
“I was going to look up at Stephen Hendry in the commentary box and then missed the final black, and then missed another chance in the last frame.
“I’ve got another match to make the record, but the most important thing today was the perform ance. Hopefully I can do it in the quarter-final – but there have been a couple of great Australian sportsmen who got stuck on 99. Don Bradman never quite got his Test average up over 100, and Shane Warne never got past 99 for his highest Test score.
“I remember he went for a six in Perth against New Zealand and holed out.” Robertson joked: “Maybe I should try and leave it on 99 to join those two greats!”
Beaten opponent Allen, a former Crucible semi-finalist, is adamant not even reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan can live with the ‘Thunder from Down Under’ in this mood.