There’s nothing quite like elite sport to take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Neil Robertson became just the twelfth player in history to record a perfect 147 break at the World Championships since it moved to the Crucible Theatre in 1977. But that high was soon replaced by an almighty low as opponent Jack Lisowski battled back to claim a superb 13-12 victory.
Before a ball had been hit, Robertson was the bookmakers’ favorite in the snooker odds World Championship to lift the trophy, but favoritism has now been taken on by world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan following the Aussie’s demise – the Rocket is priced at 7/4.
Lisowski was typically humble in victory and hailed Robertson afterward, revealing that ‘beating the best player in the world at the moment, who is playing some of the greatest snooker we have seen, feels like a massive achievement.’
Judd Trump, who impressed in his 13-11 win over Anthony McGill, has been made the second favorite ahead of his quarter-final clash with Stuart Bingham, while John Higgins is next best at 6/1 ahead of his last eight collisions with Lisowski.
It brings the curtain down on a fine season for Robertson, who clinched three ranking titles, the much-coveted Masters crown, and, of course, cemented his legacy with that Crucible 147.
As for Lisowski, nicknamed ‘The Jackpot’, you sense the penny has finally dropped for this super-talented but inconsistent 30-year-old.
Better Late Than Never
Lisowski has been tipped as one for the future ever since turning pro in 2010, but now – at the age of 30 – he finally looks ready to cash in on his undoubted talent.
After overcoming serious illness, Lisowski caught the eye as part of the International Open Series, and in his first full season as a professional performed well enough to climb up to 52nd in the world rankings.
A maximum break in qualifying for the UK Championship in 2012 cemented his status as one to watch, but the left-hander struggled to kick on – at a time when his good friend Trump was starting to win major tournaments.
It wouldn’t be until the 2018/19 campaign that Lisowski started to enjoy the fruits of his labor. A run to the semi-finals of the International Championship was eclipsed by appearances in his first ranking event finals – the China Open and the Riga Masters. He would, unfortunately, lose them both.
That has been a theme of Lisowski’s career – he’s reached six ranking event finals, and tasted defeat in all of them. The World Grand Prix in 2020 would have perhaps hurt the most, although it may have been some crumb of comfort that his old buddy Trump was the man to vanquish him there.
His Crucible run takes the 30-year-old into unchartered territory – he’s never gone past the second round of the World Championships before, but the manner in which he held his nerve against Robertson suggests that, finally, Lisowski has matured into a genuine contender for major honors.
And if that comes to pass, the world of snooker should start to fear what this late bloomer is capable of…