Neil Robertson won his first tournament for over a year by beating Ricky Walden 4-1 in the final of Players Tour Championship event six in Warsaw.
Australia’s Robertson won the Betfred.com World Championship in May last year then the World Open in September, which put him top of the world rankings. He has since struggled to recapture that form, but played superbly in the first ever professional tournament in Poland to take the 10,000 Euro first prize.
The Thunder From Down Under won seven matches in all at the Arena Ursynow, finishing with a commanding win over Chester-based Walden. Breaks of 76, 69 and 95 gave Robertson three of the first four frames, Walden’s response coming with a 62 in frame two. Frame five saw Walden open with a run of 46, but left-hander Robertson compiled a measured 68 clearance to secure victory.
“I couldn’t have had a tougher draw as I’ve beaten the likes of Peter Ebdon, Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy to reach the final,” said Robertson, who has now won a tournament carrying ranking points in each of the last six years. “I had been on a good run of form recently with a couple of semi-finals and I was really disappointed to lose in the semis of the Shanghai Masters. That was a wake up call because you have to be efficient in the final stages of tournaments. It’s all about winning them because that’s what you’ll be remembered for. So I’m really pleased to convert this one.
“The PTC events are tiring and you have to really keep your concentration, so when I got the semis I made sure I knuckled down and stayed focussed.”
Robertson, who moves up one place in the world rankings to fourth, believes there is potential for snooker to grow in Poland. “The crowds have been fantastic in all of my matches,” he said. “That makes it easier to play because it gives you a buzz, and hopefully the people who came will go away with good memories. In Germany it took a few years for the support to grow and now we have a full ranking event there, so hopefully something similar can happen in Poland.”
Earlier in the semi-finals, Walden edged a 4-3 win over 54-year-old snooker legend Steve Davis, who had enjoyed an inspired run to the latter stages. Robertson easily saw off Stephen Lee 4-0.
The Players Tour Championship is a series of 12 tournaments, six in the UK and six in Europe, with the top 24 in the final Order of Merit to qualify for the Grand Finals in March, providing they have played in at least three domestic and three overseas events. The seventh tournament in the series is at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester next week.
Results (last 16 onwards)
Judd Trump 4-3 Matthew Selt
Ricky Walden 4-0 Liu Chuang
Steve Davis 4-3 Mark King
Jack Lisowski 4-3 Liang Wenbo
Fergal O’Brien 3-4 Xiao Guodong
Stephen Lee 4-2 Joe Swail
Neil Robertson 4-3 Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Judd Trump 3-4 Ricky Walden
Steve Davis 4-2 Jack Lisowski
Xiao Guodong 3-4 Stephen Lee
Neil Robertson 4-3 Shaun Murphy
Steve Davis 3-4 Ricky Walden
Stephen Lee 0-4 Neil Robertson
Ricky Walden 1-4 Neil Robertson