Robertson Wins Again
Neil Robertson stormed to a 13-7 win over Mark Allen at the Dafabet World Championship – but just missed out on a piece of snooker history.
World number one Robertson looked in danger of a second round exit at the Crucible when he trailed 7-6 last night, but he fought back to win the last three frames of the middle session, then played brilliant snooker to add the four frames he needed today, his opponent scoring just 34 points in the final session.
Australia’s Robertson, the 2010 champion, goes through to the quarter-finals to face Judd Trump or Ryan Day. He is aming to win snooker’s two biggest ranking events in the same season having capture dthe UK Championship title in December.
Victory was a bittersweet moment for Robertson as he failed to capitlaise on two good chances to score his 100th century of the season. The left-hander has already made 99 tons this term – smashing the previous record of 61 – and will surely get into three figures during his next best-of-25 frame match.
After winning the first two frames today with breaks of 59 and 69 to go 11-7 up, he was on 94 in the next when he missed a black off its spot which would have completed the tons of tons. And in the next frame he was on 92 when he wobbled a red along the top cushion in the same corner pocket.
“I felt like a cricketer on 190 or 290,” said Robertson. “I thought I hit the black in the 19th frame perfectly and thought it was in and was about to celebrate. I had it planned in my mind, I was going to look at Hendry in the commentary box and Willie (Thorne) who’s given me all sorts of stick over the years about how bad a break-builder I am.
“The wall was lifted up and for everyone to enjoy it. But it just wobbled so I’ll have to wait a bit longer. I got in nice and early in the next frame and it was a brilliant break again. The red on the cushion I thought I hit it pretty good, but it caught the near knuckle and didn’t go in. I’ve got another match now to make it but the most important thing today was the performance, and how well I played and to try and win as early as possible.
“Every century I’ve made this season I haven’t taken any liberties, disrespected my opponent or played any shots that I shouldn’t have played. Every century I’ve made here this week has been perfectly made in terms of shot selection and I haven’t played anything overly risky. So I guess that’s the most pleasing thing about it.
“Today it would’ve been quite easy to lose my focus at 12-7, but I maintained it and got the job done. It’s something people have been tweeting me about and I think it’s really fun – it’s brought something else to talk about at the Championship. Hopefully I get it in the next match and it’ll be an amazing achievement.”
Allen said: “That was perfect from him in the final session. I didn’t feel like I made him work that hard for it as I left him three easy starters in the four breaks that he made.
“I didn’t lose the match in the last session, I lost it in the first two. I think I was the better player in the first two sessions but somehow I was 9-7 down. A few bits of luck went against me – I lost four frames on the black and a massive fluke on the green from him in one of the frames.
“I felt I was really dominating even though the scoreline suggested that as I was only ever one frame in front. I felt like I was in more control of myself.
“Neil was trying little things that I picked up on like taking a long time to put his water in his glass and constantly going back to his seat to wipe his fingers. Maybe that’s something I do need to learn because it did keep him in the match.
“I think it’s his way if he’s nervous, he tries to slow things down it makes him a little bit calmer. I’ve tried things in the past to help me like speeding up and slowing down.
“It was comforting for me to know that he was trying those things because I thought I’ve really got a good chance here because he knows I’m playing well and he’s scared. I knew he was scared at 7-6 down but he finished the session strongly last night.
“The first two sessions I played really well, anyone that watched it will probably be a bit baffled as to how I was behind. I felt like I should’ve been in front at the end of the second session because at no point in those sessions did I feel like I was under any pressure.
“What can you say about that last session? It was devastating snooker. I said to him at the end of he plays like that for the rest of this tournament then no-one can touch him and I include Ronnie in that.
“He played very well in his first match against Robbie Williams and that sort of put a marker down. I’m not being big-headed when I say it but to do it against one of the top players in the world, that really does send a message to even Ronnie. Ronnie’s never done that to me. I can’t see anyone getting close to Neil if he keeps playing like that.
“I know I played a couple of bad safeties and left him easy starters, but you leave him one shot and he’s nearly clearing the table. Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say that you just got completely out-played.”