Neil Robertson will meet close friend Joe Perry in the semi-finals of the Hanteng Autos World Open on Saturday after they both scored 5-2 victories in the last eight.
Robertson ended the run of David Gilbert to boost his hopes of winning a second ranking title this season, having landed the Riga Masters last month.
The Australian won the first frame on the colours and the second with a break of 60 before Gilbert won the third on a respotted black and the fourth with a run of 97 for 2-2. But world number four Robertson dominated after the interval, taking three frames in a row with top breaks of 64 and 50.
“I didn’t play great, it was a bit of a scrappy match and I had to fight,” said Robertson. “It was just a match I had to get through no matter what. Now I can refocus for tomorrow.
“I have to put my friendship with Joe aside. When I beat him in the final of the Wuxi Classic a few years ago I was very emotional because I thought it was his best chance of winning a title. So it was really good to see him win a ranking title at the Players Championship last year.”
Cambridgeshire’s Perry scored an impressive win over defending champion Shaun Murphy. From 2-0 down, world number 11 Perry won five frames in a row with top breaks of 54, 107 and 79.
“I felt awful at the start, I didn’t feel confident, perhaps because my record against Shaun is poor,” said Perry. “But he let me off massively and I got stronger as the match went on. I think I got lucky. In frame three I called a foul on myself and expected him to punish me and win the frame, but he didn’t. Maybe that made me feel I deserved to win because the game changed after that incident. Tiny fractions make big differences and they all went my way.
“Every time I play Neil it’s really tough because, after Ronnie O’Sullivan, he’s the best player in the world. We see each other every day in the snooker club so there’s that extra bit of emotion attached to it. Whoever wins will be sympathetic towards the loser.”
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