Neil Robertson continued his perfect start to the season with a 5-2 win over Robert Milkins in the semi-finals of the Australian Goldfields Open.
Robertson lifted the trophy at last week’s Wuxi Classic and is now just two wins away from capturing the first two ranking titles of the season – and from taking the top prize at his home tournament for the first time. In the semis on Saturday he will meet Mark Davis, who edged out Stuart Bingham 5-4.
A break of 65 put Robertson 2-1 ahead before Milkins cleared from the last red to level at the interval. Runs of 45 and 32 gave Robertson frame five, and crucially he won a tight sixth by potting blue and pink. And he added the next to secure his place in the last four.
“Robert beat me at the World Championship last year so I know how good he is,” said Melbourne-born Robertson. “I didn’t score heavily enough when I had the chances so 5-2 was a bit flattering because it could easily have gone 3-3. I didn’t play as well as yesterday. The table was really nice to play on but it was a bit too quick off the cushions and I lost position a couple of times because of that.
“The most important thing is to win – it’s really pleasing when you play your best, but you can’t do that all the time. I’m really proud to be into the weekend stage here.”
Davis and Bingham were involved in a high quality contest, with ten breaks of 50 or more in the nine frames – and never more than one frame between them. Bingham, who won this title in 2011, compiled runs of 60, 67, 66 and 56 while Davis knocked in 58, 66, 96, 61 and, from 4-3 down, 53 and 50 to win the last two frames.
“The standard was good, there were only a few balls missed,” said Sussex’s Davis, who now has the chance to reach the final of a ranking event for the first time. “In the last frame I left him a long red which he had to go for – if he had potted it he probably would have won. But he missed and left me perfect. So it was all on that shot really, even though I still had to make sure I took the balls to win.
“It doesn’t get any tougher than playing Neil in Australia, he is the man to beat and has been for a while. I’m playing well and I’ll enjoy it. I’ve beaten Neil a few times and if I can do it again I will fancy winning the tournament.”
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Neil Robertson v Mark Davis