Neil Robertson looked at his imperious best as he completed a 10-2 romp over Robbie Williams in the first round of the World Championship tonight.
The Australian appeared to be playing well during his opening session with the debutant on Wednesday but was at his devastating best in the final three frames today.
Williams, who came through four qualifying rounds to book his maiden Crucible appearance, looked sharp himself early on having resumed the contest 7-2 down.
The Englishman made a quick 51 break in the first frame but that was the last he saw of the ball in an attacking sense as Robertson went on an offensive rampage.
A cool 61 clearance to the pink, where many of the reds were still in difficult positions, ensured the 2010 champion went six clear before a brace of mesmorising century breaks – the first a 140 total clearance – sent the 32 year – old flying into the second round.
The tons brought his tally for the season to an incredible 97, only three shy of the magical 100 landmark that his eyes have been firmly set on for months.
The fact that this would be almost 40 more than the previous record for a single campaign demonstrates the devastating scoring ability the world no.1 possesses.
Robertson admitted in his post-match press conference that this has been the most prepared he has been for a World Championship, with the determination evident in his overall demeanor both on and off the table.
Last year’s first round defeat to Robert Milkins came as such a disappointment that the Melbourne man was intent in ensuring that a repeat result wouldn’t materialise.
Despite reaching the final of the China Open earlier in April, Robertson looked weary and tired following a long season in which he has been one of the star players.
Yet, a few weeks mixture of rest and practice seems to have revitalised his impression on the baize.
He will undoubtedly be given a sterner test against Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen in the last 16 but, whereas I had the latter as favourite in my second round preview, it would be hard to stick with that prediction following Robertson’s display on Thursday.
As a subplot, an achievable three tons in his next encounter will bring him the glory of what many believed would always be an unlikely record of century breaks.