Australia’s 2010 world champion Neil Robertson set up an enticing quarter-final with three-time winner Mark Selby after completing an impressive 13-9 victory over Barry Hawkins in the second round on Sunday at The Crucible Theatre.
The 38-year-old made short work of Hawkins in their final session having begun it locked at 8-8 he won five of the six frames to clinch a place in the last eight for the eighth time.
Selby will be a formidable opponent but with three titles this season world number two Robertson will not be lacking in confidence as he seeks to reach his first world final since his stunning success a decade ago.
Selby won their only previous meeting in the championships getting the better of ‘The Thunder from Down Under’ as Robertson is known 17-15 in the 2014 semi-finals.
Robertson said he had few concerns facing Selby as his “expectations are very high,” for the tournament.
He added the most satisfactory aspect of his victory was that Hawkins cagey style of play had exposed his Achilles heel in the past.
“In the past five or six years, I have always lost to someone who keeps it tight and can shut down the offence,” he told the BBC.
“From that perspective I was happy with 8-8 9after the first two sessions) and could have been 10-6 down in other years.”
Robertson said due to the championships being held later than the usual April date — due to the coronavirus pandemic — the tables were playing differently.
“The table is playing very heavy, it is very humid out there and it does not feel like playing at Sheffield.
“It feels like playing in Asia and it is tough to screw the ball back.”
Kyren Wilson will play defending champion Judd Trump in the last eight after he beat fellow Englishman Martin Gould 13-9.
Their clash looks sure to be a feisty affair with Trump saying last year the pair “don’t speak” and “don’t really get on”.
The quarter-finals line-up will be completed later on Sunday with the standout match five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan tied at 8-8 with China’s 2016 finalist Ding Junhui.
The other match features Welshman Jamie Clarke and Scotland’s Anthony McGill in what has been a tense clash with the latter having words with his opponent on Saturday over standing in his line of sight when lining up a shot.
McGill’s complaint appeared to work in his favour as he was trailing 7-2 at the time but will enter Sunday evening’s final session only 8-7 down.