Neil Robertson produced a stunning display to beat Shaun Murphy 13-6 and book his place in the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
Neil Robertson secured his quarter-finals place at the World Snooker Championship with a brilliant 13-6 win over Shaun Murphy.
The pair made four centuries between them in a high-class opening session on Thursday but the second act didn't quite reach those heights with both players guilty of making a few unforced errors, though Murphy will feel most aggrieved having allowed Robertson to steal a number of frames from a long way behind.
The opening frame of the morning would, in fact, prove indicative of what was to come, Murphy building a solid lead before Robertson stepped in with a break of 67 to take the spoils on the black.
Murphy hit straight back before the next two frames were shared to ensure Robertson went to the mid-session interval with his two-frame advantage intact.
Murphy's hopes of a comeback upon the resumption were dealt a hammer blow when Robertson again got the better of a closely-contested frame 13 before the former finally found his groove to respond with a break of 59 in the following frame to reduce his arrears to 8-6.
However, the 2005 world champion was left to rue another missed opportunity in the very next frame, one he had controlled until Robertson cleared the final three colours having potted a wonderful blue from distance with the white ball anchored to the bottom cushion.
Both players had their chances in frame 16, the last of the session, but once again it was Robertson who proved strongest in the key moments and, as he left the Crucible Theatre knowing he was only three frames away from the win, Murphy was left to wonder what might have been.
When the players returned for the concluding session, Robertson replicated the type of form that has seen him enjoy such a fruitful campaign, opening up with a sublime run of 120 before adding contributions of 88 and 95 - his ninth break of 50 plus in the match - to advance to the last-eight.
"Coming in 10-6 ahead was a really good lead and I played well," Robertson said. "Against Shaun I knew I had play well to win.
"I am just playing. I really want to win but I am not worrying about the results and just playing to entertain the crowd."
Murphy said afterwards that his opponent was "simply too good".
"I was bang up against it from the moment I drew Neil," he said.
"He was absolutely unplayable. It is one of the best performances I have seen at the Crucible and if he plays like that he will win the tournament. Get the engravers ready," Murphy quipped.
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