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Neil Robertson misses out on Crucible after Jamie Jones defeat

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Robertson failed to qualify for the World Championship (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Neil Robertson will not be at the Crucible for the first time since 2004 after defeat by Jamie Jones in the final World Championship qualifying round.

The 2010 World champion was beaten 10-9 by the 2012 quarter-finalist, despite having led 8-5 at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Wednesday.

Following a disappointing couple of seasons that saw him drop out of the top 16, Robertson entered the qualifying rounds for snooker’s blue-riband event for the first time since 2006.

After making light work of Zak Surety, who he thumped 10-2 in round three, the Australian notched up an impressive milestone in frame four against Jones – a player he had beaten in each of their seven previous meetings.

A break of 103 saw him become only the sixth player to compile 100 centuries in the World Championship – after Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy.

Though he trailed 5-4 at the end of the afternoon session, Robertson won the first four frames of the evening to establish an 8-5 lead and close in on a 20th successive Crucible appearance.

But Jones, seeking his sixth trip to Sheffield 12 years after reaching the last eight on debut, had other ideas. Recovering to level at 8-8 and 9-9, the Welshman produced a timely break of 60 in the decider, which was eventually enough to secure a hugely impressive victory.

“Whatever it is about this tournament, it just really brings the best out of me,” he said. “I think the longer matches suit my style of play.

“Neil has buried me every time Iโ€™ve played him before, so I havenโ€™t got good memories [to draw on].

“At 8-5 down, I was hitting balls in the practise room and I knew I was up against it. I thought if I could come out and hit him early, maybe Iโ€™d have a chance.

“When Iโ€™m playing in practise, I play like a top player; I just donโ€™t produce it enough in other tournaments. Youโ€™ve got to play well against the big players, so I always find those to be easier matches to approach.”

There was further Welsh joy in deciding frames as Jackson Page recovered from 9-8 down before producing a sublime 107 to edge out Noppon Saengkham, while three-time quarter-finalist Ryan Day eventually overcame a spirited Scott Donaldson, who had overturned a 7-2 deficit to lead 8-7.

Si Jiahui – a semi-finalist on debut 12 months ago – secured his return in style, reeling off 10 successive frames from 4-0 down to defeat fellow Chinese opponent Wu Yize 10-4. Pang Junxu also sealed a second successive appearance with a 10-8 victory over compatriot Cao Yupeng.

Joe O’Connor will be the only debutant at this year’s tournament after he battled past Matt Selt to a 10-8 win.

David Gilbert, who reached the 2019 semi-finals, will play at the Crucible for the 10th time – and sixth on the spin – after defeating Xiao Guodong 10-6, while Hossein Vafaei is back for a third straight year following his 10-5 victory from 3-0 down against world number 111 Jiang Jun.

World Snooker Championship Qualifiers | Judgement Day Results

Wednesday April 17

Fourth Round

Jamie Jones 10-9 Neil Robertson
Hossein Vafaei 10-5 Jiang Jun
Joe O’Connor 10-8 Matthew Selt
Cao Yupeng 8-10 Pang Junxu
Jackson Page 10-9 Noppon Saengkham
Si Jiahui 10-4 Wu Yize
Xiao Guodong 6-10 David Gilbert
Scott Donaldson 9-10 Ryan Day