WPBSA Player Support Programme 2023 | Lilleshall National Sports Centre

Tired Robertson Passes Higginson Test

Home favourite Neil Robertson recovered from a slow start to beat Andrew Higginson 5-2 and reach the last 16 of the Australian Goldfields Open.

Robertson won his tenth ranking title at the Wuxi Classic in China on Sunday before making the trip to his homeland. His fans in Bendigo may have feared that fatigue would be a factor for the world number two when he fell 2-1 behind against Higginson, but Robertson reeled off the last four frames to set up a match with Jamie Jones.

A break of 94 from Robertson made it 2-2 and he took the fifth frame on the colours after trapping his opponent in a tough snooker on the last red. A crucial 38 clearance put the Melbourne-born cueman 4-2 ahead and he wrapped up victory in the next with a run of 89.

“I flew from China on Monday night and arrived here yesterday morning so it was pretty tough to get ready to play,” said 32-year-old Robertson. “I felt tired but I thought I played some pretty good snooker. The two frames from 2-2 to 4-2 could have gone either way so I was really happy to win them both.

“Jamie Jones got to the quarter-finals of the World Championship a couple of years ago and hasn’t quite come on since then, the way people thought he would. But he’s going to be very keen to do well here. He’s quite an attacking player which will suit me. Hopefully I can recover quickly because to have a good run I can’t be tired.

“Playing conditions are just absolutely perfect again here, all of the players have already told me that.”

Judd Trump impressed in a 5-2 win over Rory McLeod, knocking in breaks of 106, 67 and 100.

“I played some good stuff and it was pleasing to have a couple of centuries,” said Trump.

Shaun Murphy took just 60 minutes to beat Jack Lisowski 5-0, top scoring with 90, 103, 54 and 68.

“It’s nice to get going and I hit the ball really well,” said Murphy. “I’ve been working hard on my long pots, being more aggressive and going for my shots. If I see the shot I’m going to go for it.”

Wuxi Classic runner-up Joe Perry was edged out 5-4 by Alan McManus. Perry came from 4-2 down to 4-4 but lost a 36-minute decider when McManus cleared from yellow to blue.

“It was just a scrap for the line in the end and I was fortune to get through,” said Scotland’s McManus. “I got a bit edgy from 4-2 up but it’s a good habit to win close matches and I have won quite a few in recent months.

“Joe has become one of the best players in the world and came so close to winning Wuxi last week. Like myself he’s not in his 20s any more, but he has knuckled down and I enjoy the way he plays the game.

“This tournament is an opportunity for a lot of players to go deep and I hope I can take my chances when they come along. You’re fighting yourself mentally on these kind of trips because you’re looking forward to getting home, but you’ve got work to do.”

Peter Ebdon beat Barry Hawkins 5-2 with a top break of 67, in a repeat of the 2012 final, which Hawkins won 9-3.

“It was a good quality match today,” said 2002 World Champion Ebdon. “Barry missed a couple of balls early on and I played solid. I was very relieved to win in the end. I’m improving slowly but surely. It’s an excellent win for me because Barry is a top player and he got to the semi-finals in Wuxi. It’s a long way to come to lose in the first round so I tried really hard.”

Martin Gould came from 2-0 down to beat Michael Holt 5-3 with a top break of 84.