Cope is though to the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time since the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open
Jamie Cope scored his best win in recent years with a 5-4 defeat of world number four Neil Robertson at the bank of Communications OTO Shanghai Masters.
Stoke’s Cope lost to Robertson in the 2006 Grand Prix final and was also runner-up at the China Open a year later. He subsequently suffered a loss of form and confidence, and has dropped to 93rd on the ranking list.
So his run in this event is a welcome boost for the player who turned 30 last week. Having won four matches to qualify for Shanghai, he beat wild card Lin Shuai 5-2 yesterday then followed up with a superb win over former World Champion Robertson.
Cope led 3-0 with a top break of 61 before Australia’s Robertson fought back to win four frames in a row. But Cope took a scrappy eighth frame for 4-4 then dominated the decider with runs of 39 and 56.
“I’m really pleased,” said Cope, who now faces Mark Williams in the last 16. “I went a bit stale in the middle of the match but at 4-3 down I just wanted to give myself the chance of a decider. That’s what I did and things went my way.
“It’s definitely my best win in the last few years. Neil has beaten me a few times so it’s nice to get one over on him.”
Robertson said: “It’s my first tournament for a couple of months so I’m a bit rusty compared to some of the other players and I think that showed. My overall play was good today but I missed a couple of tricky shots, which deep into the season I wouldn’t usually miss. I didn’t really get a clear chance from 4-3 up.”
Mark Allen enjoyed a 5-3 win over Luca Brecel. Breaks of 79, 101 and 64 put Allen 3-0 up, then Brecel made a 140 in getting back to 3-3. But Antrim’s Allen pinched the vital seventh frame by potting brown, blue and pink, then sealed victory in the next.
“I started off really well then the match changed,” said Allen, who was runner-up to Stuart Bingham last year. “Luca had a good chance to go 4-3 but he played a poor shot from yellow to green, and I was then lucky to fluke a snooker. That’s what won me the match. Luca is very aggressive and he’s a great long potter. He’s one that the top players want to avoid so I’m happy to win.
“I don’t have a great record here, despite getting to the final last season, so anything from here is a bonus. If I keep winning then I’m sure the form will come.”
The Northern Irishman now plays David Grace, who received a bye following the withdrawal of Mark Selby due to a family bereavement. Allen added: “It puts everything into perspective. We’re snooker players but we’re also family people and I wish Mark and (wife) Vikki all the best.”
Mark Williams continued to put his shoulder injury behind him as he stormed to a 5-1 win over Tom Ford with top runs of 128, 108 and 59.