Neil Robertson produced one of the best performances of the season so far to come from behind and beat world number one Mark Selby 6-4 in their quarter-final clash at the International Championship.
Defending champion Selby has taken home the trophy from Daqing for the previous two seasons, but today’s victory for Robertson ends an 18-match win streak at the International Championship for the Jester.
Robertson has already added a 14th ranking title to his CV this season with victory at the Riga Masters and he will be hoping to secure the £175,000 top prize and a further piece of silverware this weekend.
Selby set the tone for the high quality encounter with a sublime break of 137 to take the opening frame. Australia’s Robertson claimed the second, before a contribution of 135 saw him take the lead for the first time at 2-1.
Three-time World Champion Selby then managed to assume control of the match. Breaks of 83 and 133 helped him on the way to taking three frames on the bounce and establishing a 4-2 cushion.
However, 2010 Crucible winner Robertson wasn’t to be denied and he produced a blitz of his own to surge to the finish post. The Thunder from Down Under fired in breaks of 113, 95 and 53 in a run of four consecutive frames to emerge the 6-4 victor.
“The purists and anyone who understands modern snooker would really have appreciated that match. It was break building and potting of the highest standard and just incredible tactical play,” said Robertson. “It was one of the highest standard of matches I have ever played in for sure.
“Mark Selby has won three world titles so that clearly separates us. However, I am working as hard as I possibly can to make sure another one is just around the corner. I would be really disappointed if I retired and had only won one world title.”
Matthew Stevens reached his first ranking semi-final since the 2013 Wuxi Classic by beating Martin O’Donnell 6-5.
O’Donnell had led 4-2, but the former Masters and UK Champion Stevens battled his way back into the match to lead 5-4. A gutsy clearance of 37 saw O’Donnell to force a decider, but it was Stevens who eventually came through to set up a semi-final tomorrow with Mark Allen.
The semi-finals will both be played over two sessions across the best of 17 frames, with Stevens facing Allen tomorrow and Robertson taking on Lisowski on Saturday.