Neil Robertson plays down hype after reaching World Championship quarter-finals
By Will Jennings
Neil Robertson is refusing to fall for his World Championship favourite tag after breezing into the Crucible quarter-finals against Jack Lisowski.
Red-hot Robertson toppled his fellow left-hander 13-9 in Sheffield to continue his remarkable baize record this season.
The 2010 world champion was crowned UK champion in December and followed that up with a brilliant Tour Championship triumph last month.
The Cambridge-based ace has been widely-tipped to be the man lifting the trophy on May 3 but Robertson, 39, said: “We’ve been here before and I have got a bit too excited thinking my name was on the trophy.
“I can’t allow any thoughts on that to happen, or any other players to make me the favourite.
“They do it all the time when I cruise through the first two rounds – but I’m not falling for it this time.
“It’s something that I’ve just got to forget about – I’ve experienced enough to forget about it. This year I’m not really too concerned.
“I think this is my best ever season. I’m averaging nearly two centuries a match, scoring well and have won the two biggest ranking events this season.
“There’s nothing for me to prove in this event. Either way, it’s been a brilliant season and I feel as though I’ve got a free shot at it this year.
“I’ve just got to play the way I’m playing. I’m certainly good enough to win the event – I’ve proven that – so it’s just about keeping level-headed and making sure I play my own game.
“I’m enjoying every match that I play. I feel like it will take something very special from my opponent to beat me.”
Robertson has been the man to beat on the behind-closed-doors circuit this term and with fans flocking back to the Crucible, is continuing his imperious form.
The Australian downed Liang Wenbo 10-3 in his first round match before delivering a dazzling display against Lisowski, the world No 15, in the last 16.
The 20-time ranking event winner struck a thrilling four century breaks to leave Lisowski – also known for his fluent left-handed potting – slumped in his chair.
And eight further visits of fifty-plus proved too hot to handle as Robertson booked a quarter-final clash with last year’s runner-up Kyren Wilson.
Robertson was crowned Crucible king in 2010 but has reached just a single semi-final in the 11 years since.
Wilson, the world No 6, has been a Sheffield quarter-finalist every year since 2016 and Robertson knows the four-time ranking event winner will pose a threat.
“He’s got a terrific record in this event,” he added.
“He’s got the all-round game, the focus and a great attitude and hunger to win here – you can really see that.
“He always seems to be in the quarter-finals every year so in some ways, he’s got a better record than me here.
“Ever since winning it, I’ve only been to the semis once. He’s a fantastic player and he’s someone all the younger players and kids watching should see in terms of how he goes about things.
“He’s very professional the way he goes about it.”
*Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3