Neil Robertson is one frame away from a potential whitewash victory, leading Michael Georgiou 9-0 after the opening session of their first round tie at the Betfred World Championship in Sheffield.
The Australian has arrived at the Crucible in some of the best form of his career, having won three ranking titles in a season for the first time. 2010 World Champion Robertson lifted silverware at the Riga Masters, Welsh Open and the recent China Open.
Thus far it has been a nightmare debut for Georgiou in snooker’s Theatre of Dreams. Playing as the first ever Cypriot to compete in the final stages of the World Championship, he’s in danger of breaking the unwanted record of least points scored in a match at the Crucible.
Georgiou has amassed 107 points so far in the tie and requires 85 more to beat the record low of 191 set by Danny Fowler in his 10-1 defeat to Stephen Hendry in 1993. The only player in Crucible history to suffer a whitewash defeat was Eddie Charlton, who lost 10-0 to John Parrott in 1992.
Robertson, who has 16 ranking titles to his name, showed his class in abundance this afternoon as he piled the pressure on Georgiou. He fired in breaks of 58, 100, 96, 68, 120, 85 and 55 to move to the verge of victory at the end of the session, leading 9-0.
They will return to play the best of 19 match to its conclusion tomorrow at 7pm.
China’s top player Ding Junhui opened up a 6-3 advantage against Anthony McGill in their opening round clash.
Former Crucible runner-up Ding enjoys a 4-0 lead over McGill in their head-to-head record. He put on a dominant display to beat the Scot 13-4 in the second round here in Sheffield 12 months ago.
McGill has it all to do if he wishes to progress, but is no stranger to comeback victories. The two-time ranking event winner overturned a 7-2 deficit against Robert Milkins in qualifying to come through a 10-8 victor. He also beat Ryan Day 10-8 from 7-3 down in the first round last year.
The opening two frames were shared, before 13-time ranking event winner Ding claimed three on the bounce to make it 4-1. McGill replied by taking the sixth frame, but a stunning run of 121 saw Ding move 5-2 in front.
Ding then moved a further frame to the good, before McGill kept himself in contention with a break of 76 to make it 6-3 at the close of play.
They will play their final session tomorrow morning at 10am.