Lukas Kleckers beat defending champion Neil Robertson 4-3 in a thrilling last 64 encounter on the opening day of the Kaspersky Riga Masters.
Germany’s Kleckers is making his first appearance as a professional on the World Snooker Tour, after clinching his place at Q School last month. He is off to the best possible start after defeating the 2010 World Champion.
Robertson beat Michael Holt 5-2 in the final to lift the title in Riga last year. However, the Australian will be disappointed to leave Riga empty following this evening’s narrow loss.
Kleckers took the opener with a run of 82, but the Thunder from Down Under responded immediately by compiling a tremendous break of 137.
They traded frames until Robertson established a 3-2 advantage. He made the first telling contribution of 38 in the sixth frame, but was unable to capitalise with Kleckers making 48 to force a decider. The 21-year-old German showed great composure, as he made a break of 81 to take the tie.
Jimmy White held off a fightback from world number 83 Eden Sharav to progress to the last 32 with a 4-3 win. The Whirlwind led 3-1, before Sharav pegged him with a fine contribution of 129. He then won the sixth frame on the colours to force a decider. However, 10-time ranking event winner White held his nerve to progress.
European Under 21 champion Alexander Ursenbacher put on arguably the performance of the day as he brushed aside Elliot Slessor 4-0. The Swiss potter made breaks of 139, 78, 76 and 88 as he eased to victory in under an hour.
Ryan Day edged out Barry Hawkins 4-3 in a repeat of last season’s World Grand Prix final. On that occasion, it was the Hawk who came out on top to take the title. He started strongly again today and established a 3-1 lead thanks to runs of 119 and 55. The Welshman hit back strongly to claim victory with three frames on the bounce. He finished with breaks of 77 and 100 to progress.
Kyren Wilson progressed to the last 32 with 4-2 victory over Leicester’s Ben Woollaston. There were runs of 58, 64 and 54 for the warrior.