Neil Robertson came from 3-1 down to beat Mei Xiwen 6-3 and reached the last 16 of the XingPai China Open in Beijing.
With Mark Selby, John Higgins, Judd Trump and Mark Williams already knocked out, Australia’s Robertson is the highest ranked player left in the field at number seven. He has already won two titles this season and reached three other ranking finals, and Robertson is aiming to reach a fourth consecutive final having won the Welsh Open in February then finished runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at both the Players Championship and Tour Championship.
The 37-year-old left-hander struggled in the early stages today, but then stormed back after the interval to win five consecutive frames with breaks of 141, 70, 55, 71 and 83. The first of those was the highest break of the tournament so far and his 73rd century of the season.
“At 3-1 down I was thinking about booking the next flight home,” said Robertson, who won this title in 2013. “After the interval I was aggressive and played very well. I made a ridiculous clearance to go 4-3 up, that was the best clearance I have made this season.
“This has been my best season and I am in the best form of my career at the moment, I am very proud to have reached the last three finals. I will enjoy the rest of this week and everything is good looking ahead to the World Championship.
“A lot of players are not sleeping well here. I have been waking up at 10.30pm and trying to work out what time zone I am on. I just sleep when I’m tired and I’m smashing a large Soya Latte at Starbucks before every match, which seems to be working.”
Robertson is a fan of the TV series Game of Thrones and swiped the air with his cue after that crucial 55 clearance in the seventh frame and again at the end of the match. “I drove the trident right into the chest!” he joked. “I am hyped for Game of Thrones and that was running through my veins. Sometimes it helps to release some energy, if you focus it in a positive way then it can have a good effect.”
He now meets another Chinese opponent, Lu Ning, who beat Mark King 6-2 with a top break of 104.
World number eight Kyren Wilson was beaten 6-4 by Rod Lawler, who made breaks of 76, 90 and 57.
Ali Carter let slip a 3-1 lead as he went down 6-4 against Sam Craigie, who fired runs of 68, 75, 73, 136 and 54. That result means two-time Crucible finalist Carter will have to play in the qualifying rounds of the World Championship next week. Click the Race to the Crucible to follow that story.
Ken Doherty could not follow up yesterday’s win over Mark Williams as he lost 6-1 to Ricky Walden. Chester’s Walden managed a top break of just 54 but won several scrappy frames as he booked his placed in round four.
Joe O’Connor knocked out John Higgins yesterday but his run ended with a 6-3 reverse against Hossein Vafaei. Iran’s top player Vafaei, who reached the semi-finals of this event two years ago, knocked in runs of 125, 85, 86, 58 and 75.
Luca Brecel top scored with 83 in a 6-4 win over Michael Holt, while Ben Woollaston was in fine form in a 6-3 win over Andrew Higginson, making breaks of 90, 87, 53, 55, 135 and 77.