Stephen Hendry went close to achieving the second maximum in Masters history during his crushing defeat of Stephen Lee in the second round at Wembley.
The Scot has achieved most things in his career but a Wembley 147 has been beyond him. He broke down on the final pink in 2003 and this afternoon suffered another near miss.
Hendry knocked in 13 reds and 12 blacks but was forced to settle on a blue for his 13th colour after running out of position.
He could still have overhauled Chinese wonder boy Ding Junhui’s 141 clearance against Ken Doherty on Tuesday.
But he settled for 110, and after clinching a quarter-final with John Higgins Hendry admitted: “Once you miss a maximum your concentration just goes completely. “Anything less is not really a consolation.”
Hendry’s disappointment leaves Canadian Kirk Stevens as the only Wembley maximum man; his 147 came against Jimmy White in the 1984 semi-finals.
But at least Hendry has another chance to go for glory against compatriot Higgins tomorrow night in what will be his 51st Masters match.
Today’s rout of struggling Lee was his 40th since making his debut in the capital in 1989.
“Stephen is clearly short on confidence and he was not getting his trademark long pots. That made me feel a bit better,” said Hendry.
“Apart from the second frame when I lost the will to live at the end of it, I was pretty solid. I didn’t feel in any danger.”
Hendry, fresh from his Malta Cup final win over Graeme Dott, opened the game with 61. Lee averted a whitewash by taking a dreadful 31-minute second frame.
But after that it was one-way traffic for the six-times Masters winner and seven-times world champion.
The next three frames finished 79-0, 83-0 and 110-0 in Hendry’s favour.
He stretched his unbroken points sequence to 325 points before Lee’s effort of 36 halted the spree.
However, Hendry tucked away another frame and then came from 48-0 down in the next to clinch a date with British Open champion Higgins.
“I think John is one of the top three players in the world along with myself and Ronnie (O’Sullivan),” said Hendry.
“So, if that’s not a tough game I don’t know what is.”
Lee, a former winner of the LG Cup, Grand Prix and Scottish Open, admitted he is desperately in need of a confidence boost.
“The last couple of seasons have been shabby,” said the Trowbridge-based world number nine.
“I wasn’t at the races today and I haven’t been at the races all season.”