Neil Robertson became only the 12th person in Crucible history to score a 147 - but it wasn't enough to beat an inspired Jack Lisowski.
Robertson, 40, was the pre-tournament favourite, having won four events in the build-up to the World Snooker Championship. But he couldn't get past Lisowski, despite a moment of magic during Tuesday's second round match.
The Thunder from Down Under has found life difficult at snooker's most famous theatre since lifting the trophy in 2010 - not that you'd know it watching him bag the fifth maximum of his career. He achieved potting perfection in the 19th frame, sinking 15 reds, 15 blacks and all six colours to wrap up a glorious 147.
Robertson raised his hands in the air as he completed the feat, which was met with a standing ovation by a raucous crowd inside the Crucible. Yet it wasn't enough to see him past Lisowski, who won a tense final frame to win 13-12 and advance through to the quarter-finals for the first time.
Nevertheless, the Australia has the consolation of pocketing the £15,000 break prize with 2006 champion Graeme Dott, who hit a 147 in qualifying. He will also bag another £40,000 for scoring a maximum in the tournament's final stages.
"To make the 147 at 9-10 down is one of the most amazing moments of my career," Robertson said. "To do it with my back against the wall and my mum, who is here, was buzzing with that. The crowd was unbelievable.
"If I only win it once, I've had an unbelievable career - I've achieved everything I could ever dream of 100 times over," Robertson added.
He continued: "The season I've had has been the season of absolute dreams. If I'd gone on to win here, it would probably have been the greatest season anyone has had in the sport. I had a magical moment to go 10-9 with the 147. It was unbelievable really and it tops the season off because it is on everyone's bucket list to make a 147 at the Crucible."
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Robertson also reserved praise for Lisowski, 30, who held his nerve in a tense final frame to book a date with John Higgins in the next round. "Jack played the match of his life. It was an incredible match and it was played in the right way. I've got nothing but praise for Jack because he just handled himself really well," he said.
Lisowski was understandably delighted with getting over the line. "Beating the best player in the world at the moment, who is playing some of the greatest snooker we have seen, feels like a massive achievement," he said.
"I knew it was going to be a close game and I felt it would go to a decider and I was ready for that. One minute I looked like I was going 11-7 up; the next minute, he's made a maximum and it is 10-10 and my head is spinning.
"I was just throwing everything I had at him and managed to pip him at the end."