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Strong Start For Robertson

Neil Robertson secured a 6-3 lead over Wu Yize following the first session of their opening round clash at the Cazoo World Championship in Sheffield.

Australia’s 2010 World Champion Robertson is making his 19th Crucible appearance this week. He’s battling to reverse his recent fortunes in snooker’s biggest event, having not made the semi-finals since 2014.

By contrast, 19-year-old Wu is one of four Chinese debutants, alongside Si Jiahui, Fan Zhengyi and Pang Junxu. Wu qualified by scoring an impressive 10-8 win over Shoot Out champion Chris Wakelin on Judgement Day.

Robertson arrived in Sheffield as the pre-tournament favourite last year. However, he is competing in very different circumstances this time around, after failing to qualify and earn the opportunity of defending his titles at the Players Championship and the Tour Championship.

World number six Robertson stamped his authority on proceedings early on. A spectacular 138 break saw him move 2-0 ahead, before the Melbourne cueman fired in 96 to make it 3-0.

Robertson then embarked on a 147 attempt in the fourth, but broke down on 49. Wu confidently stepped in and composed a run of 82 to reduce his arrears to 3-1, but it was soon a three-frame gap again after Robertson took the fifth.

Wu then showcased his considerable talents in the two frames that followed, crafting back-to-back breaks of 107. He’s now just one 100+ break way from equalling a record set by Jackson Page last year and Ryan Day in 2004, who are the only players to have made three centuries on their debut.

Despite that flurry from Wu, it was Robertson who quickly regained his control of the tie. Breaks of 64 and 80 gave him the last two frames of the afternoon and saw him end 6-3 ahead. They play to a conclusion tomorrow afternoon from 2:30pm.

On the other table, Luca Brecel put himself in a strong position to claim a first ever Crucible match win after establishing a 6-3 lead over Ricky Walden.

The Belgian remains the youngest player ever to compete at the Theatre of Dreams, having made his debut back in 2012 at the age of 17. However, he is yet to win a match in his five appearances in the final stages.

Brecel got off to an excellent start this afternoon, crafting contributions of 90 and 78 to take the opening frames and move 2-0 up. Walden responded with breaks of 51 and 98 to restore parity at 2-2 heading into the mid-session.

When play resumed, three-time ranking event winner Brecel pulled clear. He took four of the five frames, firing in runs of 90, 52 and 82 along the way. The match will be played to a finish tomorrow evening at 7pm.