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Slimline Robertson Beats O’Connor

Neil Robertson began the defence of his the Coral UK Championship title with a comfortable 6-0 win over Joe O’Connor, and he believes that following a vegan diet will help his snooker career.

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Robertson beat Mark Selby in the final last year to become the first non-British player to win snooker’s Triple Crown. And the Australian looks in the mood for another crack at the title as he took just 102 minutes to beat amateur O’Connor with top breaks of 76, 60 and 55.

“I was trying as hard as possible to play as well as I can but I could tell Joe was quite nervous and he missed a few,” said world number two Robertson. “I’m not disappointed with my performance but I’m not happy with it, I just won 6-0 and got to experience how the tables are playing.”

The Cambridge-based cueman started a vegan diet several weeks ago for health and ethical reasons. “It’s going fantastically well. I’m going to have to see a tailor tomorrow to get a new waistcoat because there’s too much space there,” he said.

“I initially spoke to Peter Ebdon and he told me to do my own research and make my own mind up. I’m only 32 but I want to prolong my career as long as possible.

“Joe Perry keeps telling me I have to eat meat. I gave him a few facts but he wanted more facts so I’ll have to get 20 scientists to come down to the club to explain to him that you don’t have to eat meat or dairy!”

Shaun Murphy recovered from a slow start to beat James Wattana 6-3. Thailand’s Wattana made a break of 100 in building a 3-1 lead, but 2008 UK Champion Murphy reeled off five frames in a row after the interval with a top run of 52.

“At 3-1 down it was looking like a short trip to York for me,” said in-form Murphy, who has won four titles this year including last weekend’s European Tour event in Germany. “If you lose your composure in snooker you start making bad decisions. The game has a funny way of turning out positive if you keep your patience and make the right decisions. ”

Stephen Maguire, champion in York ten years ago, saw off China’s Lu Ning 6-2 with top breaks of 65, 126, 104, 54 and 68. Michael White top scored with 73 in a 6-2 defeat of Cao Xin Long.

Oliver Lines was unable to join dad Peter in the last 64 as he went down 6-2 to China’s Yu Delu, while Mark Joyce beat Ratchayothin Yotharuck by the same scoreline.