Neil Robertson found his best form at the business end to beat Robert Milkins 6-4 in the first round of the Dafabet Masters.
World number one Robertson looked in danger of an early exit when he trailed 4-3, but reeled off the last three frames with a burst of high scoring to set up a quarter-final match with Ali Carter or Barry Hawkins at Alexandra Palace.
Robertson, champion here three years ago, hasn’t won a title since lifting the Wuxi Classic trophy at the start of the current season, but producing his best under pressure tonight will give him a confidence boost.
Milkins led 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3 with top breaks of 94 and 69. But Robertson took the last three frames in just 35 minutes with runs of 95, 117 and 76.
“I couldn’t have played any worse in the first four frames, but I got a lot better after the interval,” said Robertson, who was watched by Chelsea captain John Terry.
“I lost a silly frame to go 4-3 down, but I kept my composure and played my best snooker of the match in the last three frames. I’m very happy with the win having struggled early on.
“You can’t ease your way into this tournament, you’ve got to win tough matches from the start.
“I thought John Terry might leave after three or four frames because the standard was so bad! I’m glad I turned it around and won in the end because he always gets me tickets for Stamford Bridge. I had a nice chat with him at the interval.”