Neil Robertson beat Barry Hawkins 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Dafabet Masters then said he will need total belief in himself ahead of a battle with Judd Trump.
Champion in 2012, Robertson will be aiming to reach the final at Alexandra Palace for the fourth time when he faces Trump on Saturday evening. And the Australian drew a comparison with England’s two leading football teams as he looked ahead.
“I watched Manchester City and Liverpool going at each other and it was inspiring to see two teams completely confident that their game plan would work,” said Robertson. “I guess I’m a bit like (Liverpool manager) Jurgen Klopp – good to watch but with a few crazy shots! I will need to have total belief against Judd.
“He’s got it in his locker to take a match away from you when you’re not doing a lot wrong, and I have too. I think the crowd and everyone watching are going to enjoy it.”
Former World Champion Robertson wasn’t even among the field for the Masters last year having dropped out of the top 16, but he has now climbed back to tenth and is showing glimpses of his best.
Hawkins started strongly tonight with breaks of 64 and 72 to take the first two frames, before Robertson recovered to 2-2 with 73 and 72. A scrappy fifth went Robertson’s way and he added the next two with a top run of 43 to lead 5-2.
Robertson appeared to be cruising past the finish line in frame eight until he missed a red to a top corner on 42, allowing Hawkins to clear with 66 for 5-3. But that only delayed the result for a few more minutes as Robertson sealed victory in the ninth with a break of 72.
“Barry looked super strong in the first two frames,” Robertson added. “He punished a slight mistake and cleared up, and in the next frame he cleared up too. I didn’t do a lot wrong. It just was about taking advantage of any mistakes he did make and I managed to do that. I started flying then from 2-0 down to lead 5-2.
“I lost my concentration a little bit towards the end because a few people in the crowd were shouting out. That was probably my fault for not being able to re-focus. I would never take that away from what this tournament brings because it’s a fantastic atmosphere.”
Hawkins said: “I got off to a good start but all credit to Neil, he dug in and played two good frames to go 2-2. I felt like I was in my chair for long periods of time. I lost my timing towards the end, and it was tough out there.
“I wasn’t going to give in, I had to keep trying and wait for something to click. Unfortunately it didn’t really click. Neil looks like his best is ready to come out. His technique and long potting is so good, he’s very strong.”