World Championship: Top high — and low — for Robertson as ‘Class of ’92’ faces reunion Yorkshire News

Neil Robertson of Australia celebrates making a 147 against Jack Lisowski of England. Image: Pennsylvania

The 46-year-old, who won the first of his four Crucible titles 24 years ago in 1998, reached the quarter-finals on Monday with a 13-7 win over Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.

He joins six-time winner O’Sullivan and Williams, with three world titles to their name, in Tuesday’s quarter-final, the trio between them winning 13 of the last 24 finals in Sheffield.

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“I think myself, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan are three of the best players ever,” said Higgins, who is looking to win his first world title since 2011, having lost in the final in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Scotland’s John Higgins in action against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham at the Betfred World Championship. Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA .

“Mark Williams is playing amazing things since switching to the SightRight method, O’Sullivan is a different animal and he’s fighting for every frame and I’ve been outspoken that I think I’m playing better than ever.

“Being in the game for 30 years and playing better than ever is an achievement.”

It marks the fourth time the trio have reached the quarterfinals together, after doing so in 1998 (Higgins beat Ken Doherty 18-12 in the final), 1999 (Williams lost 18-11 to Stephen Hendry in the final) and 2011 ( Higgins defeated Judd Trump 18-15 in the final).

Only O’Sullivan (20) and Hendry (19) have reached more Crucible quarter-finals than Scotland’s Higgins, who is through to the quarter-finals for the 16th time.

And after undergoing a strict fitness regimen, losing nearly four stones, Higgins has been in impressive form this season. He hasn’t added to his 31 career ranking titles, but he showed amazing consistency in reaching the final of the Northern Ireland Open, British Open, Scottish Open and Tour Championship.

Higgins led 11-5 on the night and won the first frame after a black switch.

Saengkham retired the next frame with a break of 70, before getting as close to a high of 147. He pocketed the first 14 red and black, but missed the final red on the mat.

A break of 90 in the next game confirmed Higgins’ victory and a quarterfinal date on Tuesday with Jack Lisowski, who edged Neil Robertson 13-12 last night.

Saengkham said: “He is a very good player and I have learned many things from him. I don’t think I played very well and John did. He controlled everything about the game. I want to become a world champion, so I need to play with world champions like John. I will do my best next year and learn from this.”

Stuart Bingham, the 2015 world champion, is also through to the quarterfinals after beating Kyren Wilson 13-9.

The 45-year-old from Essex is taking on Judd Trump, who beat Anthony McGill 13-11 last night, and is happy that others are hogging the spotlight.

“I’m fine with going unnoticed and just letting it happen,” Bingham said.

“Ronnie is always one of the guys to beat, John Higgins is playing well, Judd is back in form, Neil (Robertson) is the man of the season, Mark Williams is playing amazing stuff. Every year is difficult, no matter who you play against.

“It’s getting harder and harder because the Class of ’92 is still there and not relaxing,” the world number 12 added.

“Steve Davis in the 1980s was all about tactical percentages, then Stephen Hendry came along and blew everyone away.

“The Class of 92 seems to be a bit of both – they can build and play safe. The kids that are coming now, all they want to do is play football.”

Not even a top break of 147 could save Robertson from an early Crucible exit, suffering a final frame exit to Lisowki.

The pre-tournament favorite posted the 12th 147 in Crucible history in the 19th frame of the match, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his 13-12 loss to the tournament’s 14th seed.

Robertson took some comfort in his high, insisting, “It just tops off the season because it’s on everyone’s bucket list to do a 147 in the Crucible and my mom was in the crowd too.”

The first two quarter-finals on Tuesday morning see O’Sullivan open against Stephen Maguire, while Williams takes on Sheffield’s Yan Bingtao.

Crucible 147s: 1983 Cliff Thorburn; 1992 Jimmy White; 1995 Stephen Hendry; 1997 Ronnie O’Sullivan; 2003 Ronnie O’Sullivan; 2005 Mark Williams; 2008 Ronnie O’Sullivan; 2008 Ali Carter; 2009 Stephen Hendry; 2012 Stephen Hendry; 2020 John Higgins; 2022Neil Robertson

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This notice was published: 2022-04-25 22:35:10

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