Neil Robertson produced what he described as one of the best performances of his career as he beat Ali Carter 6-1 at the Dafabet Masters.
World number one Robertson goes through to face Ronnie O’Sullivan in a mouth-watering semi-final on Saturday afternoon at the £600,000 tournament at Alexandra Palace (for ticket details click here). Tonight Robertson made two centuries, three more breaks over 50 and played immaculate safety, and if he can reproduce that form he’ll have every chance of stopping defending champion O’Sullivan. Australia’s Robertson is seeking his second Masters crown and first title since the 2014 Wuxi Classic.
This week has seen Carter make an emotional return to the big stage after a successful fight against cancer and beat Barry Hawkins in his opening match, but there was little he could do tonight against an opponent at the top of his game.
Breaks of 128 and 57 gave Robertson the first two frames. Carter made a 63 in the third and eventually won it on the final black, then Robertson’s 98 put him 3-1 up at the interval.
Carter might have won the fifth frame but for a missed pink to a centre pocket after potting the last red, and that proved the end of his hopes. Robertson cleared for 4-1 and cruised through the last two frames with 127 and 84.
“It was one of the best matches I’ve played in my career, every department was spot on,” said Robertson. “I knew the crowd would be on Ali’s side and understandably so. I prepared myself well for that. I scored heavily and my safety was brilliant, I can’t fault my performance. I knew that if I played well the crowd would appreciate it, even though they were cheering Ali on when I made a mistake.”
Borrowing a line from the film Predator as he looked forward to the clash with O’Sullivan, Robertson added: “If it bleeds you can kill it, right? If you can get on top of him and put him under pressure, he’ll make mistakes like anyone else. And you have to capitalise on your chances.
“I’ve got a good conversion rate of winning tournaments after beating Ronnie and I rise to the occasion when I play him. We always have good matches and there’s a lot of mutual respect there. The way I’ve beaten him in the past is by attacking him and scoring heavily, so that’s what I’ll try to do. It’s going to be a great occasion to play him in front of a packed crowd. This arena is special because it’s as similar to the old Wembley Conference Centre as you can get. It’s up there with the Crucible in terms of places to play.”