Neil Robertson became the first player to book his place in the quarter-finals of the World Championship after a hard-fought 13-9 victory over David Gilbert.
The players resumed this morning at 5-3 in favour of the Australian and Gilbert missed a huge chance to get back on level terms at the mid-session interval and was left to rue it as he fell 10-6 behind going into this evening.
The popular Englishman, competing in his first last 16 tie at the Crucible and with a boisterous support of friends and family, battled valiantly to get back into the encounter – making a splendid 121 along the way – but ultimately was left with too much work to do in the end.
If he had come up against nearly any other competitor it may have been a different story because his performance was excellent throughout but 2010 champion Robertson is looking ominously impressive as he goes in search of a second trophy in Sheffield.
The 30 year-old Masters champion will meet either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Williams for a semi-final berth – a daunting prospect either way – but I don’t think anything will faze him as he continues to look super confident on the baize.
As the Melbourne man is safely in the last 8, two Scotsmen look all but assured of joining him after building up monumental advantages in their respective clashes.
Seven-time king of the Crucible Stephen Hendry raced into a 12-4 lead over defending champion John Higgins in unbelievable fashion.
The opening session was of a high standard but Hendry won seven out of the eight frames in a second session of woeful standard to boast the unassailable lead.
It’s difficult to remember a bout of play where Higgins was quite so bad as missed a succession of pots in each frame – many of which most club players would have been able to make with their eyes closed.
Higgins’ campaign has been one to forget and he looked a disconsolate and lonely figure at times as he realised the match and his reign in power was slipping away.
Hendry will be getting sick of the sight of his countrymen as he’ll more than likely have to face one of his own again in the quarter-finals.
Stephen Maguire resumed against Joe Perry with only a two-frame cushion but played well to open up a healthy gap at 11-5, in need of only two more frames for a safe progress.
Perry was wasteful with many of the opportunities he had and as the deficit grew larger, so too did his overall will to succeed it seemed.
In the day’s only other action, Welshman Ryan Day took control of proceedings against Mark Allen’s conqueror Cao Yupeng and enjoys a 6-2 lead overnight.