Records are there to be broken, but Neil Robertson hasn’t been content with doing just that this season. The Aussie ace has gone a level above this term by powering his way to the incredible milestone of 100 century breaks in the same season. A feat never achieved before.
The previous record was 61, set by Judd Trump last season. It was ironic – and perhaps fitting - therefore, that Robertson bettered that record in beating Trump to reach the semi-finals here in Sheffield.
Quite a breathtaking achievement, especially given some players have never made 100 centuries in their entire career.
And also because only 52 professionals have ever made 100 career centuries in the history of the sport. It’s simply staggering what Robertson has done.
No wonder the world No 1 punched the air in delight after he pocketed century No 100. Doing it at the Crucible was also extra special. To put Robertson’s incredible achievements into context, two-time champion Alex Higgins only managed 46 centuries in a 26-year professional career, while Willie Thorne mustered only 126 in a career spanning 27 years.
Will Robertson’s record ever be bettered? Doubtful, but possible given the announcement of another new tournament yesterday, the World Grand Prix, which will be played 16-22 March next season.
A venue is yet to be decided, but what is clear is that Robertson’s best years are ahead of him and having amassed 358 centuries so far, he could better Stephen Hendry’s record of 775 career centuries by the time he finally hangs up his cue.
On the table reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan established a commanding 6-2 lead as he made an impressive start to his semi-final clash with Barry Hawkins.
The ‘Rocket’ trailed 2-1 to Hawkins - a repeat of last year’s Crucible final – but reeled off five frames on the spin for a healthy four-frame cushion after the first session of their best-of-33 frame match.
Hawkins compiled breaks of 96 and 76 to force the pace early on, but O’Sullivan, gunning to win a sixth world title, pocketed breaks of 63, 80 and 108 to stay on course to defend his title.
The pair resume this morning to play two more sessions of their three-day match, with a final concluding session scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.