‘Strange’ Crucible schedule called into question after day of drama

Neil Robertson was critical of the World Championship quarter-final schedule following his surprising defeat at the Crucible.

The world number 3 entered the tournament as one of the main favourites to win the world title after storming to victory in the Tour Championship just weeks prior to snooker’s biggest competition.

But the Australian was forced to pack his bags early after suffering a 13-8 loss to Kyren Wilson on a day full of drama at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

It means Robertson has suffered back to back quarter-final losses in the World Championship and is still waiting to win his second world title – his first coming in 2010.

Robertson admitted Wilson fully deserved his victory but also stressed the “strange” quarter-final schedule was not “ideal” for him during the encounter.

Neil Robertson. Picture by Monique Limbos

Robertson and Wilson were scheduled to play back to back sessions – their second session on Tuesday evening before having to play again to a conclusion first thing on Wednesday morning.

Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy were also scheduled to play back to back sessions – but theirs were on the same day (Wednesday afternoon and evening).

BBC pundit and six times world champion Steve Davis said in front of the cameras the idea of the quarter-final schedule is to ensure there is at least one “finish every session” on the Wednesday morning, afternoon and evening.

Robertson is quoted in the Metro as saying: ‘It’s a strange session to play night-time then morning, it’s a bit strange, but Kyren’s played well so I can’t use that as an excuse but the scheduling isn’t ideal, that’s for sure.’

Davis said the schedule can feel hard for the players involved but does have its positives.

“It’s not ideal,” he said.

“The way it works is that the powers that be try to make sure there’s a finish every session towards the end.”

A day of drama saw world number one Trump knocked out losing 13-11 to Shaun Murphy who appears to have rediscovered his top form during the competition.

Stuart Bingham, winner of the World Championship in 2015, beat Anthony McGill in a final frame decider and three-times world champion Mark Selby beat Mark Williams 13-3 with a session to spare.

The semi-finals, which start on Thursday, will see Selby face Bingham and Wilson take on Murphy.

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