NEIL Robertson stands just one century break away from becoming the first ever player to record 100 tons in a single season.
The world number one took his tally from 97 to 99 season century breaks in his second round tie against Mark Allen and could complete the historic landmark on Monday afternoon (2.30pm start) when the pair do battle in the matches’ final session.
But Robertson could face a race against time in getting his 100th season century as his place in the next round is by no means secure after Allen pushed him all the way in a thrilling opening two sessions. The Australian though won the final two frames to earn himself an overnight 9-7 lead.
Victory for Robertson will mean he will have more time to make the historic landmark should he not have already done so on Monday. But defeat, without the century, will mean he will end an impressive season stranded on 99.
After the first four frames were shared, Robertson took a 3-2 lead by registering his 98th century break of the season as a run of 100 put him 3-2 up and ahead for the first time in the match.
Allen however soon responded in the next frame as a break of 92 put the scores back level.
The pattern of the match continued to swing one way or another and after Allen hit breaks of 77 and 84 to go 7-6 up, Robertson compiled a sublime break of 137 – to make it century break number 99.
The winner of the Robertson/Allen match is likely to meet Judd Trump in the last eight after the Bristol ace continued his dominant ways against second round opponent Ryan Day.
Leading 6-2 from the opening session, 2011 finalist Trump maintained his advantage over the Welshman to lead 10-6 and will need to win just three more frames on Monday evening to seal his place in the quarter-finals.
The middle Sunday of snooker’s biggest event also saw Welshman Dominic Dale go just one frame away from the quarter-finals after building a 12-4 lead against Michael Wasley.
Dale, who last reached the quarter-finals at the Crucible fourteen years ago, continued his dominance following the 7-1 lead he gained from Saturday night’s opening session.
The scoreline will please six-times World Championship finalist Jimmy White who could drop off the tour should Wasley record victory in this match.
And former world champion Shaun Murphy has a two-frame overnight lead against Marco Fu in their second round encounter.
Murphy, who won the world title in 2005, leads the Hong Kong star 9-7 after having the better of the first two sessions played out today. The winner will meet Ronnie O’Sullivan in the next round following the defending champion’s impressive comeback win against Joe Perry on Saturday.
As well as O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins and Alan McManus have sealed their places in the last eight beating Ali Carter, Ricky Walden and Ken Doherty respectively.