Neil Robertson became the latest top seed to exit the 2016 Betfred World Championship after a 10-6 defeat to Michael Holt on Tuesday.
The Australian was one of the favourites heading into the season-ending event but ran into a challenger who produced one of the performances of his career.
The first session was as high quality as it comes, with Holt surging into a 3-0 lead helped by a tournament-high run of 140, before Robertson replied with a brace of centuries of his own to draw level.
After surrendering his early advantage, Holt would have been forgiven for letting his head go down but, for once, his usually frail temperament remained strong and he compiled a second ton of 115 to move back in front.
After winning the eighth frame, Holt then stole a crucial last frame of the session on the black after Robertson missed frame ball pink to the middle pocket.
Many still predicted a comeback from the Australian but it never gained any momentum, and Holt coasted to only his second ever victory at the Crucible.
2010 champion Robertson joins defending champion Stuart Bingham, runner-up Shaun Murphy, and other top 16 members Stephen Maguire and Michael White on the sidelines.
It was a much easier first outing for four-time winner John Higgins, though, after he completed a 10-3 hammering of Ryan Day.
Day was never at the races at all and, though Higgins played well in the opening session especially, the Scot was never really tested at any point.
Yet, the 40 year-old does look in good enough form to challenge this fortnight and the further he progresses the more confident he’ll become in attempting to add to his Crucible haul.
Meanwhile, world no.1 Mark Selby survived a minor scare as he held off a late charge from Robert Milkins to secure a 10-6 triumph.
It was all looking rosey for the 2014 champion when he led 7-2 overnight but a determined Milkins won all four of the opening frames in the second session to reduce the gap to just one.
However, the much-needed interval settled a twitchy Selby down and he reeled off the last three frames with runs of 67 and 70 to move into the last 16, where he’ll be a big favourite against qualifier Sam Baird.
Elsewhere, two other games got under way with both ending in 6-3 scorelines in favour of the seeded player.
Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins enjoy three-frame cushions over Mitchell Mann and Zhang Anda respectively.
Categories: Snooker News