Neil Robertson defeated Ben Woollaston 5-4 in an enthralling last 32 encounter on day three of the Yushan World Open.
It was a crucial victory for Robertson, who is in desperate need of some good results to prevent himself from dropping out of the world’s top 16. The Australian is currently 19th place in the race to the Masters.
It’s been a strong start to the season for Leicester’s Woollaston, having previously reached the last 32 stage at the Indian Open and the quarter-finals of the Paul Hunter Classic. However, today’s defeat was a tantalising loss.
There was never more than a single frame between the pair this evening. Robertson was first to move within one of victory after winning a tight seventh frame. However, Woollaston took the match to a decider thanks to a gutsy break of 70 in the next.
The final frame came down to a safety battle on the last red. Woollaston went in-off on an attempted safety and left the balls at Robertson’s mercy to clear with 32.
Robertson’s opponent in tomorrow’s last 16 will be Mark Allen, who set up the mouth watering clash by defeating Allan Taylor 5-2.
There were breaks of 72, 80 and 70 for the Pistol in this evening’s victory.
“I felt in control and knew I was playing relatively well and scoring well. It sounds quite boring but you just have to be patient,” said Allen. “Neil and I have had some good battles over the years. You are going to have to play well in the latter stages of events if you want to win. If I can play like I did in the first parts of the matches so far this week, I’m going to be very hard to stop.”
Anthony McGill came through a thrilling encounter with fellow Scot Stephen Maguire 5-4.
McGill, who reached the final of last week’s Indian Open, was looking for revenge following a heavy 10-2 defeat at the hands of Maguire at this year’s World Championship.
It had looked as if Maguire was going to come out on top again, when the 2004 UK Champion opened up a 4-2 lead. Maguire then left McGill needing a snooker in the seventh, but he got it and took the frame and went on to set up a decider.
It was a dramatic final frame which saw Maguire spurn his opportunity to win on the final black, with the rest. That left McGill to deposit the last remaining ball to progress.
McGill said: “Anything else now is a bonus as I should have lost that match. After that I am just happy to be in the next round.”
Joe Perry produced a fine display to see off Riga Masters Champion Ryan Day 5-0. The Gentleman wasted little time, completing the win in just over an hour. He compiled breaks of 114, 57, 79 and 60 on the way. He’ll face Ding Junhui next, who also had a whitewash victory, beating compatriot Xiao Guodong 5-0.
Recent Indian Open Champion John Higgins required a final frame to progress. He defeated Matthew Selt 5-4 to book his last 16 spot.
For full results click here.