World Snooker Championship 2023 results: Robert Milkins beats Joe Perry 10-9 having trailed 7-2

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Robert Milkins and Joe Perry
Former Crucible semi-finalist Joe Perry lost eight of the last 10 frames in his defeat
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 15 April-1 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and app

Robert Milkins produced one of the great World Championship comebacks as he fought back from 7-2 down to beat Joe Perry 10-9 and reach round two.

The ‘Milkman’ looked down and out overnight but raised his game to win eight of the next 10 frames to secure a famous win at the Crucible.

“My belief was terrible at 7-2, but the crowd got behind me and I was reeling off frames,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I’m chuffed to bits. It really was a tale of two halves.”

Milkins added: “I just said to myself ‘go out there and make the score respectable’. I fancied the job when I got back to 7-4.”

Qualifier Perry, a 2008 Crucible semi-finalist, was a clear favourite to win the all-English tie, but Milkins – enjoying his best season to date, having won the Welsh Open – rallied with breaks of 51, 53, 55 and 59 to lead 9-8.

Perry compiled a 63 break to force a decider, but Milkins held his nerve to clinch victory with a match-winning run of 63.

“I haven’t been here [at the Crucible] for five or six years and it’s quite intimidating,” added Milkins, who faces either compatriot Shaun Murphy, the 2005 world champion, or Chinese qualifier Si Jiahui in the next round on Saturday evening.

“It’s not every day you play with crowds on top of you, but it would have been a nightmare if it’s have lost the last two from 9-8 up.

“But I have to play better than that if I’m to progress to the quarter-finals.”

A frustrated Perry branded himself a “shambles” but was magnanimous in defeat by Milkins, one of his good friends.

“I started bad but gradually got worse and didn’t play well enough,” said Perry.

“Pretty much all of my career I’ve dominated Rob Milkins, but I was disappointed with what I was doing.”

The opening session of the pair’s match was halted on Monday evening when a protestor climbed on the table and covered it in orange powder.

Another protester tried to glue herself to the other table where Mark Allen and Fan Zhengyi were playing, but was stopped by referee Olivier Marteel.

“I was a little bit shaken up. It wasn’t a very nice experience,” added Perry. “But it [the incident] didn’t have any impact on the match.

“For Rob is was probably a massive help, but it doesn’t get away from how rubbish I was.”

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