Local ace Jordan Brown scored one of his best career wins with a 4-1 victory over Neil Robertson in front of his home crowd in the second round of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
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Antrim’s Brown delighted his friends and family at the Waterfront Hall with a superb performance to knock out former World Champion Robertson, and the confident 36-year-old believes he can kick on from today’s result and go all the way to the Alex Higgins Trophy. The world number 44 has had success in the Home Nations Series before, winning the BetVictor Welsh Open in 2021.
Defeat for Robertson means that he is yet to reach the last 32 of a ranking event this season, and he must now win either the International Championship or the UK Championship if he is to continue his streak of lifting a trophy in every calendar year since 2006.
Brown made a break of 94 to take the opening frame, and he dominated the next two for a 3-0 advantage. Robertson pulled one back with a 125 but that proved too little, too late as his opponent sealed the result in frame five with a 51.
“Beating an all-time great in Neil in front of my home crowd – it doesn’t get better than that,” said the player nicknamed the Antrim Ferrari, who now plays either Jamie Clarke or Yuan Sijun in the last 32. “I absolutely loved it out there, it was an amazing feeling. It’s right up there with my best wins, even if Neil has not been in his best form. I just concentrated on myself and I felt I was in control for most of the match. I got a bit nervy towards the end, but when I got another chance I finished it off.
“It would mean everything to have a long run here, not just for me but for my family and friends. I’m here to win the tournament, that’s the bottom line. It’s not big-headed because I know what I’m capable of. I’d like to dedicate this victory today to Joe Bingham, he was my coach and he passed away five years ago today. This one’s for him.”
Hossein Vafaei impressed in a 4-1 win over Mark Joyce, compiling breaks of 74, 72 and 112. A good run this week could cement Vafaei’s top 16 place with the cut off point for the MrQ UK Championship coming soon.
“There is room to improve, hopefully I can play better in the next round,” said the Prince of Persia. “I do care about being in the top 16, but I try not to think about rankings. If I’m good enough then I’ll be there. Whatever happens, I will accept it.”
Jack Lisowski recovered from the loss of the first frame to beat Jackson Page 4-1 with breaks of 68, 57 and 138. BetVictor European Masters champion Barry Hawkins beat Elliot Slessor by the same scoreline, firing runs of 64, 123 and 108.
Ireland’s Aaron Hill enjoyed his best career run at the recent Wuhan Open when he reached the quarter-finals, and he has kept his momentum going this week, beating Fan Zhengyi 4-1 with a top break of 80.