Robertson cruises in world snooker opener

·2-min read

Neil Robertson has vowed to take nothing for granted after underscoring his status as one of the favourites for the world snooker championship by brushing aside Liang Wenbo at The Crucible.

Two further centuries and a final flourish of 73 helped the in-form 39-year-old Australian convert a 6-3 overnight advantage into a routine 10-3 win in Sunday's action.

It is far from the first time Robertson has been hailed as a champion-elect in the early stages of the Crucible.

Two years ago Shaun Murphy famously called to "get the engravers ready" after being thumped by the 2010 world champion in the second round.

Robertson, who faces Jack Lisowski or Ali Carter in the last 16, said coping with the pressure of expectation was key.

"At some point you have to cope with becoming the favourite in an event, I've always been able to deal with it and it is the really big guns who cope with it the best," Robertson said.

"Over the last seven or eight years, in five of those years I've blitzed my opponents and everyone is saying 'his name's on the trophy' already.

"When you run into opponents who make it incredibly tough for you, the onus has to be on you to make it an aggressive game, just to play the matches on my terms and not be worried by the other guy profiting off any mistakes."

Robertson, who hammered six-time world Ronnie O'Sullivan in last month's Tour Championship final with a performance that the Englishman said was the best he'd ever seen, has been widely tipped to lift his second world crown and along with it the Stg 500,000 ($A895,000) winner's cheque.

In a major upset, Welsh qualifier Jamie Jones won 10 out of 11 frames to shock world No.8 Stephen Maguire 10-4 in the first round.

As one of the UK government's pilot events to help the country out of lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, spectators returned to the famous Sheffield venue on Saturday.

Robertson's match that afternoon was halted just before 3pm as the players, spectators and officials all observed a minute's silence to pay tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh.