Neil Robertson is through to the semi-finals of the ManBetX Champion of Champions thanks to a 6-5 victory over Shaun Murphy, who had earlier been taken to a deciding frame by World Women’s Snooker Champion Reanne Evans, at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Robertson never led in the Group Four final but came from 3-0 down to draw level with Murphy before the match moved to a decider at 5-5. Looking on course for the victory at 46 ahead, the Thunder From Down Under missed a black to the middle but Murphy was unable to capitalise and Robertson eventually took the deciding frame for a place in Friday’s semi-final, where he’ll face the winner of Group One, which plays out on Thursday.
“The game had a bit of everything,” said the Australian. “I think the crowd really enjoyed it, there were a few close frames, a few 90s and a century. It was a bit of a scrappy start for me but once I settled in from 3-0 down I thought I played some decent stuff and was really pleased to get through to the semis.
“The semi-final will be a really tough one, whoever it is. I am sure it will be a high quality group but whoever it is in the semi-finals, you will never get an easy match.”
Earlier in the day Murphy had also been 3-0 up against Evans, but the 12-time Women’s World Champion took advantage as the World No. 8 struggled and forced the best-of-seven match to a deciding frame. Breaks of 32, 46 and 51 helped Evans recover to 3-3. But Murphy ultimately prevailed with a match-winning break of 130.
Evans said: “I went 3-0 down despite lots of chances but I couldn’t push the cue through, I was all over the place. When I nicked a frame it really settled me down and I played well in the next few frames and felt comfortable to take my chances.
“The women’s game is getting there and I hope things like today can inspire others to play and up their game a little bit, and practise more. Hopefully young female players can see that I have competed there and hopefully they can see themselves in my shoes in a few years time.”
Robertson beat Martin Gould 4-0 in his group semi-final with top runs of 62 and 67.
China Championship winner Murphy quickly moved to a 3-0 lead in the group final but Robertson cut the deficit with a 95 before the mid-session interval. Robertson took the fifth frame with a break of 90 and then drew level with the first century of the match – a break of exactly 100.
From there Murphy twice regained the lead and was twice pegged back as Robertson forced the decider.
Tickets for the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions are on sale now. Prices start from just £11 per session with Premium and VIP packages also available.
Featuring tournament winners from the previous 12 months, the ManBetX Champion of Champions is broadcast live on ITV4 and has become one of snooker’s biggest tournaments since launching at the Ricoh Arena in 2013. The likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy have all lifted the trophy.
The tournament starts with a quartet of four-man groups played over four days from Monday, November 4 until Thursday, November 7. The winner of each group progresses to the semi-finals, with one played on Friday, November 8 and the other on Saturday, November 9. The final on Sunday, November 10 will be over 19 frames.
Neil Robertson 4-0 Martin Gould
62-35 (62), 77-10 (77), 68-67, 64-55
Shaun Murphy 4-3 Reanne Evans
74-1, 86-26, 65-44, 41-64, 38-75, 53-77 (Murphy 32, Evans 51), 134-0 (130)
Neil Robertson 6–5 Shaun Murphy
46-72 (67), 1-98 (98), 75-86, 95 (95)-20, 121-3 (90), 100-30 (100), 17-101 (76), 64-53 (Robertson 64), 0-84, 89-19 (53), 74-17