What a great start to the Betfred.com World Championship as the Neil Robertson-Judd Trump match lived up to its billing.
Yes there were mistakes on both sides but that only added to the drama and tension as, once again, the longer matches meant plenty of time for the momentum to shift.
There’s nothing like the Crucible for this. And there’s nothing like the Crucible for making players even with iron temperaments like Robertson feel the pressure.
So Robertson is out and the so-called ‘Crucible curse’ claims another victim. He becomes the fifth first time defending champion to lose his first match the following year.
And Trump is through. Make no mistake, this boy is a star. He missed a couple of frame balls himself but in the last he saw a chance to win and went for it full-blooded. Judd will have plenty of support for the rest of the tournament.
Andrew Pagett certainly made an impression yesterday with his attire and played well to lead Jamie Cope 4-2 but trails 5-4 coming back today and may struggle to play as well again.
Dave Harold staved off the whitewash by winning the last of the session to trail Ali Carter 8-1 but it’s a miserable weekend for the potter: he can’t even go and watch his beloved Stoke City in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Mark Williams ambled around the table apparently without a care in the world as he built a 6-3 lead over Ryan Day.
Marcus Campbell is a frame away from an unwanted place in the history books. The only Crucible whitewash came in 1992 when John Parrott beat Eddie Charlton 10-0. Campbell trails Shaun Murphy 9-0.
Starting out today for his 26th successive Crucible campaign is the greatest of them all, Stephen Hendry.
Nobody has played more, or won more, matches at the Sheffield theatre than the 41 year-old Scot.
But this year’s World Championship could conceivably be his last. If he fails to beat Joe Perry he will lose his top 16 place and be plunged into the qualifiers.
Hendry could regain his place by next year but I can’t see the sterile qualifying set up inspiring him, which is why a strong Crucible performance this year is a must for the seven times world champion.