Tough Lines For Robertson
Neil Robertson’s defence of his Betway UK Championship title failed to get past the first round as he suffered a shock 6-3 defeat against amateur Peter Lines.
Robertson won the title in York for the second time a year ago, but this time he was well below his best and admitted he was outplayed on the tactical side by Leeds cueman Lines.
A top break of 58 helped Lines build a 3-1 interval lead, and he maintained his lead throughout, despite Robertson making runs of 82 and 72 in frames five and seven. Yorkshireman Lines sealed the result in the ninth with breaks of 38 and 57, setting up a last 64 tie with Chris Wakelin.
“It was a daunting task but I just wanted to relax and play well,” said 46-year-old Lines, who dropped off the pro tour last season but did well enough in Q School to earn entry into most of the ranking events this term. “It’s probably the most pleasing result I’ve ever had, beating Neil in a big arena and playing that well. In the last few seasons the pressure of trying to stay on the tour got too much for me. In a way it was a relief to drop off and now I’m enjoying it more.”
Lines, who reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship in 2009, added that his cause was boosted by the fact that son Oliver, the world number 61, scored a 6-5 win over Martin O’Donnell on Tuesday night. “I was in turmoil watching that game,” joked the proud dad. “If Oli had lost there was no way I would have won either.”
A dejected Robertson, by far the biggest name casualty of the first round, said: “His safety was incredible, I was outplayed in that department. He constantly denied me any openings and the frames went messy, which suited him. When I saw the draw I knew it would be tough and that Peter wouldn’t be scared. I’m really disappointed to lose my title. I prepared well but sometimes you get on a run where things don’t go your way.”
World Champion Mark Selby eased to a 6-1 victory over Andy Hicks, though he gave up the chance of a possible 147 in the opening frame when he missed the 12th red on 88. Selby, the 2012 UK Champion, went on to compile runs of 93, 59 and 100 in a comfortable win.
“A 147 is always nice but it still only wins one frame,” said world number one Selby. “I didn’t make up my mind when I played the red I missed. I should have got up off the shot and started again.”
Stuart Bingham’s first round success was even more emphatic as he beat Poland’s Adam Stefanow 6-0 with top runs of 70, 127, 108, 72 and 70.
“My game is in good shape, it’s just winning titles that is missing,” said world number two Bingham. “I’m only losing to people playing outstandingly well.”
Two-time UK Champion Mark Williams top scored with 121 in a 6-1 win over Jason Weston but revealed his is suffering from a neck injury. “I was in a lot of pain all through the match,” said the Welshman. “I need to get some treatment before I play again.”
There was only one contender for comeback of the first round as Alan McManus recovered a 5-0 deficit to beat Michael Wild 6-5, sealing the result with a 130 clearance in the decider.
Last year’s surprise semi-finalist David Grace suffered an early exit this time as he lost 6-2 to rising Chinese star Zhao Xintong. Ali Carter looked sharp in a 6-1 win over Chris Keogan, firing runs of 66, 100, 74, 62, 111 and 78.
Mark Davis beat Sydney Wilson 6-3 and now faces an all-Sussex derby against Jimmy Robertson, who beat Thor Chuan Leong 6-0.