Neil Robertson produced the 12th maximum break at the Crucible Theater in World Snooker Championship history – but ultimately lost a thrilling second-round battle with Jack Lisowski that went to the final frame.
Robertson trailed 9-7 coming into the final session but after the first two frames were shared, the Australian completed a 147 break to earn rapturous applause from the Crucible crowd. That appeared to have swung the match in Robertson’s favor as he produced back-to-back breaks of 79 and 60 to take the lead.
Lisowski responded with an 88 to haul an intriguing match back all-square at 11-11, but a shocking missed green in the next appeared fatal, as Robertson took the frame and established a potentially match-winning lead of 55 in the next – only for Lisowski to respond with a stunning 72 break to force the decider.
Both players missed opportunities in a tense final frame but a misjudged safety by Robertson let in Lisowski, who held his nerve to pull away and claim the biggest win of his career. The No 14 seed will face John Higgins in the quarter-finals.
Robertson, the No 3 seed and bookmakers’ favorite to win the title, took some solace from his maximum, insisting: “It just tops the season off because it’s on everyone’s bucket list to make a 147 at the Crucible, and my mum was in the crowd as well.”
“The season I’ve had has been the season of absolute dreams. But Jack played the match of his life from him. It was an incredible match and it was played in the right way. I’ve got nothing but praise for Jack because he really just handled himself really well.”
“I gave it everything I had,” Lisowski told Eurosport. “I thought he was going to beat me [at 12-11 down], and I just felt gutted. I felt like the match deserved a decider … Neil’s the best player in the world right now, but you can’t keep letting these guys beat you. It was an incredible match.”
On the other side of the sand, Judd Trump edged past Anthony McGill 13-11 before paying tribute to close friend Lisowski. “I am over the moon for Jack. I wasn’t sure he believed in himself enough to win that game, but that is a huge, huge win for him and especially to do it in the way he did.”
Trump, the 2019 champion, had led 10-6 and 11-7 before successive breaks of 78, 77 and 124 moved the tenacious McGill to within one frame at 11-10. Trump managed to keep his nose in front and a break of 56 to blue in the 24th frame proved enough to seal a last-eight clash with Stuart Bingham.
earler, John Higgins wrapped up a 13-7 win over Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, ensuring that snooker’s fabled “Class of 92” – Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan – have all reached the last eight in Sheffield for the first time since 2011.
Higgins began the session with an 11-5 lead and after the players had won a frame each, Thailand’s Saengkham came agonizingly close to a maximum break, reaching 112 before hitting a tough last red into the jaws of the top pocket. The qualifier reduced the deficit to 12-7, before Higgins got over the line.
“I think it’s incredible that it’s been 30 years and the three of us are better players than we’ve ever been,” said the 46-year-old Higgins. “Mark has been playing incredibly and Ronnie is a tougher player now he’s scrapping for every frame –whereas before he’d maybe have thrown in the towel –which makes him undeniably the best player he’s ever been.”
Asked if Williams (47), O’Sullivan (46) and himself could go on to emulate the likes of Jimmy White, who is set to embark on his next season on the tour at the age of 60, Higgins added: “I don ‘t see any reason why not. Mark has already said he’s not going to retire, and Ronnie, who knows? Myself, yes, I probably could.”
stuart bingham also missed out on a maximum as he stepped on the gas to sink Kyren Wilson 13-9 and set up a quarter-final with Trump. The 45-year-old sunk 13 reds and 12 blacks in the 18th frame before snooking himself on the black.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism