Neil Robertson
Neil Robertson scored a 9-5 win over Shaun Murphy at the International Championship to set up an intriguing final against Judd Trump.

 

Pic: Tai Chengzhe / TOP147.com

 

The Australian got the better of a tough battle against Murphy, winning several tight frames in the second session. He will face Trump over 19 frames tomorrow with the winner to collect £125,000 at the end of the richest tournament ever staged in Asia.

 

Robertson has yet to win a ranking event in China - in fact this is his first final - but he will be confident of his chances given his phenomenal strike rate at the business end of professional tournaments. He has won ten out of 11 televised finals, his only defeat coming in the Players Tour Championship Grand Final last season in a best-of-seven sprint against Stephen Lee.

 

World No 8 Robertson, who beat Murphy in last season's Masters final, came from 3-1 down to lead 5-3 in the first session today thanks to a series of high breaks including a tournament-best 142. Murphy won a scrappy first frame tonight before Robertson restored his two-frame cushion with a run of 91.

 

Frame 11 came down to the colours and Murphy potted an excellent long yellow and cleared up to reduce his arrears. But a crucial safety error on the final green in the next proved costly for Murphy as his opponent cleared up to lead 7-5 at the interval.

 

The 13th frame was another close one and Murphy looked like stealing it after getting the snooker he needed on the blue. But another safety mistake left the blue close to a corner pocket and Robertson potted it to go three up with four to play. And two breaks of 21 in the next helped Robertson cross the winning line.

 

"I played really well in the afternoon session, then tonight the balls seemed to go awkward and there was a lot of safety," said 30-year-old Robertson. "Shaun played a lot of good safety so I'm just happy to have got the better of him.

 

"When you play in China it's really important to adjust to the different time zone and the travelling as quickly as possible and this week I've done that better than I had before. Now I know what to do for future events here. To be in my first final in China is a really proud moment for me.

 

"Judd has changed his game, his doesn't go for as many shots as he used to and his safety has improved. He is number one in the world now so he's full of confidence. He's fantastic for the game and he has fun and enjoys his life, as he should do. Hopefully it will be a great match. He's had an extra day of rest so I need to get a good night's sleep tonight."

 

Robertson also gave an insight into why he has such a good record in finals. "I just approach them like any other match and play my own game," he said. "I'll walk away with a smile on my face win or lose because I've had a great week. I won't get nervous, I enjoy playing in finals. I will attack when I can and try to play a good all round game and counter Judd's strengths."