Friday, 26 April 2013

Renaissance Robert

Robert Milkins has waited eight long years to get back to the Crucible and really made his return count.

The Milkman slayed 2010 world champion Neil Robertson 10-8 in a thrilling match giving him the biggest scalp of this year's World Championship first round.
Picture by Monique Limbos

The world number 19 reckons this was the biggest win of life and it signals that his career fightback shows no sign of ending just yet. The Gloucester pro is back on the rise after a major slump. He dropped so far down the rankings that at one point that he was outside the top 48 and claims his life was in the "gutter".

He's settled down off the table and has engineered a stunning renaissance this season on the table. He's been playing excellent snooker and has quickly become one of the most feared opponents in the qualifiers. He's now on the cusp of a place in the top 16 and used the Crucible as a stage to show everyone why.

Milkins is one of those players who everyone knows can play, and very well on his day. He's always been a good potter and very heavy break builder. Lots of the professionals have these qualities in their locker. What sets the very best apart is tactical nous and how they handle the pressure. These were the very attributes that won Milkins this memorable match after he trailed the Australian 5-2.

Robert won eight of the last 11 frames and played so well he saw the former world champion deteriorate in front of his very eyes.

Milkins just kept on producing and found a way to break down Robertson. The test was always going to be crossing the winning line, but as victory crept closer he he kept his calm and didn't wilt. His shot selection was brave and the rewards were massive.

Many people tipped Robertson for the title, but Milkins rubbished those view. He isn't here to make friends. He's already knocked out the people's champion Jimmy White in qualifying and will fancy his chances of going even further now.

He has beaten one of the best in the world. There's nothing really to fear now. His game has stood up to one of the sternest tests out there and he's forced the hand of a player who usually has such unshakable steel.

Robertson came into this event right to be feeling confident. He won the most recent ranking event in Beijing, but the World Championship brings a completely different pressure. His hopes are over for another year.

Milkins has been one of the players of the season outside the top 16. Now you've seen why.

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