Neil Robertson cracked in four centuries as he handed out a 6-1 first-round beating to Tom Ford at the williamhill.com UK Championship in York.
The former World and current Masters champion described it as his best display of the season and, with two of his title rivals in the shape of Mark Allen and Judd Trump having already perished, he is now favourite to win the tournament.
The Aussie rattled in contributions of 129, 112, 100 and 127 to see off his opponent from Leicester. “I felt mega-confident today,” Robertson said. “I’ve got a good record against Tom. When I have played him previously I think it’s been 6-0 and 6-1 and I knew if I could get on top of him early on then it would be tough for him.”
Robertson, 30, will face Barry Hawkins next. In the afternoon’s other game, Matthew Stevens won an all-Welsh affair with Dominic Dale, although his opponent was suffering from a skin complaint that had him feeling under the weather.
The 40-year-old believes he has caught shingles but, as he was unable to see a doctor, went ahead with his match. He lost 6-1 and headed straight off for attention afterwards. “It was one of those unfortunate things,” said Stevens. “I felt for him but it was nice to get the win.”
Stevens will now meet Allen’s conqueror, Marco Fu.