Defending champion Robertson produces a storming comeback
SNOOKER:Defending champion Neil Robertson pulled out all the stops to make it through his first-round UK Masters tie yesterday afternoon, winning the last three frames to beat Ding Junhui 6-5.
In the opening match of this year’s tournament at London’s Alexandra Palace, the Australian looked set for an early exit as the unflappable Ding opened up a 5-3 lead, scoring heavily.
But Robertson showed the steel needed to be a champion and dug in, saving his best until the late stages with runs of 100, 62 and 90 getting him over the line, and a hands-aloft celebration towards the end of the decider showed how much it meant.
It was 2-2 as Ding shaded the fourth despite breaking down when well placed on 53, while the next two frames were shared, with Ding’s sixth-frame 127 the highlight.
Ding took the next and lead for the first time, despite sliding a red wide of the corner when he was on 20, although he was much better in the eighth, moving to the brink of victory with a long-range pink the highlight of a 54 break.
Robertson suddenly found an extra gear, though, rattling in a break of 100 to reduce the gap, although he then had some fortune in making it 5-5. With the bit between his teeth Robertson duly finished the job in the decider, a long red the start of a match-winning 90.