Judd Trump ended Neil Robertson’s defence of his Betfred.com World Championship title with a stunning performance on day one at the Crucible today.
The fast-rising 21-year-old from Bristol will surely have many victories in Sheffield during the course of his career, but few will be as sweet as his first.
World number 14 Trump won 10-8, finishing with a break of 83, and he will play Martin Gould or Marco Fu in the last 16. A similar performance could see him go a long way in the next two and a half weeks.
For Robertson it will be said that the ’Crucible curse’ has struck again, with another first-time winner having failed to return the following year to reign again.
No player has won their first two world titles in consecutive years in Sheffield.
Robertson becomes the first defending champion to lose in the first round since Graeme Dott tumbled out to Ian McCulloch in 2007.
But that takes away from Trump the credit he deserves.
Four years since he made his World Championship debut, losing in the first round to Shaun Murphy, Trump ended his long wait for a return trip by beating David Gilbert in the final preliminary round.
He followed that up by winning the China Open a fortnight ago, beating Murphy, Peter Ebdon and Mark Selby to secure his first major title, but defeating Robertson at the venue where the Australian triumphed last May takes the youngster’s career to another level.
He claimed he would be under no pressure and would be relaxed, having achieved his ambitions for the season prior to heading to South Yorkshire by winning a title and making his place in the top 16 safe.
And aside from some early jittery form, Trump was true to his word.
He exhibited the attacking game which made him stand out in his early teens - at the age of 14 he made a 147 break in an under-16s tournament – and Robertson could not keep pace.
Trump led 5-4 after the morning session, with Robertson clinging to his opponent thanks to a 100 break in the ninth frame.
When they resumed at 7pm, Trump should have led 6-4 but missed a routine pink and allowed Robertson in to pinch the frame.
The underdog did lead 6-5 after a 70 break but then once again threw Robertson a lifeline in frame 12, when he led 58-1 but a missed black and a 58 break made it 6-6. Robertson punched the air in the sort of celebration reserved for winning world titles, but it was born out of relief.
Trump should have been 7-5 ahead; it could have been 8-4. But soon it was 7-6 in Robertson’s favour, with a 90 break edging him ahead at the interval.
They were back on level terms at 7-7 after 67 from Trump, and he added 75 to inch in front and before long, with Robertson erratic, it became 9-7.
The finishing line was in sight for Trump when he surged 53-0 clear in frame 17, but Robertson was not finished.
Trump ran out of position, the man from Melbourne closed the gap to 16 points after an outrageously fluked red gave him a starter, and when a second chance came along Robertson took it to go 9-8.
Other players might have panicked, but Trump seized on an early opportunity in the next frame and made a rapid-fire break to settle the outcome.