Robertson Remains In Hunt While Zhao Bows Out

Masters champion Neil Robertson maintained his hopes of scooping the £150,000 BetVictor Series bonus, while UK Champion Zhao Xintong’s chances of the payout were ended on day one of the BetVictor Gibraltar Open.

Australia’s Robertson had to negotiate three matches to secure his place in the final day of play on Saturday, where the event will be played to its conclusion form the last 16 onwards.

Robertson, who won the BetVictor English Open earlier in the season, scored 4-2 wins over Liang Wenbo and Oliver Lines to set up a last 32 tie against Jamaica’s Rory McLeod.

He ensured his progression by crafting breaks of 61, 78 and 102 on his way to a 4-1 victory. Robertson’s next opponent on Saturday will be Jak Jones, who defeated BetVictor Scottish Open champion Luca Brecel 4-3 in the last 32.

Robertson must make at least the semi-finals to stand a chance of scooping the lucrative bonus, which will go to the player who has accumulated the most prize money across the eight counting events.

Robertson said: “This season has been awesome. My strike rate has been incredible and I have played really well with a good brand of snooker. That has been pleasing. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season with the Tour Championship, where I’m looking to defend my title and then the World Championship. Things are getting serious again.”

China’s Zhao had placed himself in a strong position in the series standings, after winning the BildBet German Masters in January. He got off to a good start today, with a 4-1 defeat of Jamie Clarke in the opening round. However, a 4-1 reverse at the hands of Chris Wakelin saw him crash out.

Iranian amateur Soheil Vahedi put paid to Wakelin’s hopes of making the final day, beating him 4-2 in the last 32. Vahedi also scored wins over Lyu Haotian and Sean Maddocks.

World number five Kyren Wilson booked his place in the last 16 thanks to a 4-1 defeat of four-time ranking event winner Ali Carter. Wilson dropped just one frame in his three matches and top scored in this evening’s tie against Carter with a run of 88.

China’s 14-time ranking event winner Ding Junhui and former Welsh Open winner Jordan Brown secured their passage to the final day. Ding defeated Aaron Hill 4-1 in the last 32, while Brown whitewashed Louis Heathcote 4-0.

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