Neil Robertson almost became the first player to compile a record five century breaks in a row after an easy 5-0 rout of Alfie Burden in the European Masters on Tuesday.
The Australian, arguably the best player in the world at present, began the contest by nearly making a maximum break – ultimately breaking down on the 14th black.
Contributions of 101, 107, and 116 followed as he left his hapless opponent pointless before the mid-session interval, marking only the eighth time a player has reeled off four tons on the trot in a professional match.
Robertson, the recent Players Championship and Masters champion, subsequently could have broken the record in the fifth frame but broke down on 76 with a foul that provided Burden with his only points.
“It was a bit of a shame at the end there,” Neil Robertson said upon missing out on the record when speaking to the World Snooker Tour after the match.
“I had the balls at my mercy for five in a row, and it would have kept him scoreless as well. Alfie’s a great mate of mine, so it’s not something I would have looked forward to doing against him.”
“But I potted some really, really good balls and it was probably a little bit too easy at the end. I overran the red in the middle by a few inches.
“If I land straight enough on the pink I pot the remaining balls easily and make five in a row, so yeah it’s disappointing. Four in a row will have to do, I suppose.”
Elsewhere, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump both advanced to the last 32 at the Marshall Arena with significantly more hard-fought 5-4 triumphs.
O’Sullivan held off a late charge by Zhang Anda to prevail in a decider, while Trump won the last three frames to deny Jak Jones in a high-scoring battle.
Defending champion Mark Selby crashed out, though, following a 5-3 reverse to Jordan Brown – prolonging the world number one’s indifferent run of form.
Fellow 2021 World Championship finalist Shaun Murphy bowed out too, losing by the same two-frame margin to Noppon Saengkham.
On a busy day of action in Milton Keynes, John Higgins and Ricky Walden recorded comprehensive 5-1 victories over Jamie Clarke and Matthew Stevens respectively.
Anthony McGill, Ali Carter, and 2020 European Masters runner-up Martin Gould were among the other names to make it through.
Last 32 Draw
(Schedule times in GMT)
Jordan Brown vs Xiao Guodong (Wed, 10am)
Zhou Yuelong vs Graeme Dott (Wed, 10am)
Luca Brecel vs Sunny Akani (Wed, 10am)
Ryan Day vs Ashley Carty (Wed, 10am)
Kyren Wilson vs Fan Zhengyi (Wed, 7pm)
Yan Bingtao vs Joe Perry (Wed, 7pm)
David Gilbert vs Barry Hawkins (Thurs, 10am)
Pang Junxu vs Neil Robertson (Thurs, 10am)
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Wu Yize (Wed, 2:30pm)
Ashley Hugill vs Ali Carter (Wed, 2:30pm)
Martin Gould vs Fraser Patrick (Wed, 2:30pm)
Tom Ford vs John Higgins (Wed, 2:30pm)
Noppon Saengkham vs Liang Wenbo (Thurs, 10am)
Yuan Sijun vs Ricky Walden (Thurs, 10am)
Mitchell Mann vs Anthony McGill (Wed, 7pm)
Kurt Maflin vs Judd Trump (Wed, 7pm)
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Featured photo credit: WST