Neil Robertson missed out on Masters qualification last week, but continued his quest to bounce back today with a 4-2 defeat of Liam Highfield at the Dafabet Scottish Open in Glasgow.
The Australian was pipped to the final spot at snooker’s most prestigious invitational event by Ryan Day’s performance at the UK Championship.
World number 20 Robertson misses out on the Masters for the first time in 11 years, but having already tasted silverware this season at the Hong Kong Masters, the Triple Crown winner isn’t short on form.
Robertson compiled runs of 138 and 89 to move 2-0 up this afternoon. However, 27-year-old Highfield showed his resolve to hit back and level at 2-2. From there Robertson forced himself over the line to book a last 32 clash against Scotland’s Chris Totten.
Robertson said: “It was a good game in the end. I made a break of 138 in the first frame and then made 89 at the first opportunity in the next. A lot of players would have crumbled under that pressure, but Liam fought really well.
“I’m really enjoying playing at the moment. I think I showed that at the UK Championship. Every time I get in the balls I look like I am going to clear the table. It is just about being a little bit tidier in the scrappy frames.”
John Higgins admits that he has a ‘good feeling’ about capturing the Stephen Hendry Trophy this week, as he kept his campaign going with a 4-1 win over Christopher Keogan.
The Scot was in blistering form this afternoon, as he narrowly missed out on winning all of his frames with century breaks. He fired in contributions of 144, 138 and 108, before breaking down on 85 as he stormed to victory.
Higgins said: “I have got a decent feeling. Last year I was probably playing better and that is maybe why I got into the final. You can sometimes just go to venues and have a good feeling about things. I’m hoping it is me that wins this week.
“I was disappointed not to clear up at the end and make it four centuries. It would have been good to do.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan has now won 17 of his last 18 matches following a 4-1 demolition of six-time ranking event semi-finalist Robert Milkins.
The Rocket has been in sublime form this season, having already won ranking silverware at the Dafabet English Open, Shanghai Masters and last week’s UK Championship.
A win this week would see him win four ranking titles in a single season for the first time in his career and he would have achieved it in the space of just two months.
O’Sullivan put on a superb display this afternoon, compiling runs of 112, 72, 80 and 101 to delight the Glasgow crowd and book his spot in the next round. However, he feels that he still has room for improvement.
“I’m treating these matches like practise games. I’m trying to work on a few technical things to get my game back to a more consistent level,” said the 18-time Triple Crown winner. “You can’t perfect your game but you can always increase your chances of having good cue ball control. It doesn’t just get there, you have to instruct the cue ball to go where you want.”
Judd Trump saw off the challenge of Sam Craigie to book his place in the last 32 with a 4-2 win. While Scotland’s Stephen Maguire kept his name in contention with a 4-2 defeat of Hamza Akbar.
Ding Junhui progressed as he continued his quest to put a shock UK Championship defeat to Leo Fernandez to bed. He defeated Chris Wakelin 4-2.