Clinical Robertson routs Davis

AUSTRALIAN Neil Robertson completed quickfire a 10-2 victory over veteran Steve Davis in round one of the World Championship yesterday.

Robertson, 27, had been troubled recently by a shoulder injury but his game looked in good shape as he thrashed Davis.

Six-time world champion Davis is now 51 and this was his 29th visit to the Crucible.

He survived the qualifying round, coming back from the brink to defeat Lee Spick, but was outplayed by Robertson.

Last year’s runner-up Ali Carter awaits Robertson in the last 16.

The Cambridgeshire-based world number 10 fired in a break of 125 in the second frame as he swiftly converted a 7-2 overnight lead into a resounding victory.

Robertson admitted it was a strange experience taking on Crucible legend Davis and winning so emphatically.

“He’s got the crowd on his side,” Robertson said. “Probably 20 years ago everybody hated him and wanted him to lose.

“But it is tough because, no disrespect, he isn’t the player he was.

“On the other side it’s absolutely unbelievable that he’s still here at the age of 51. That’s an incredible achievement.”

Robertson was unaffected by the shoulder problem, which he sustained picking up his bags as he arrived back in England from the recent Bank of Beijing China Open, forcing him to take a week off practice.

“It was absolutely fine,” he said. “I know you want me to tell you I was in agony!”

He is now ready to mount a title challenge, although he faces a tricky match against last year’s runner-up Ali Carter in the second round.

Davis managed only one break above 50, the 51 which won him the third frame yesterday.

He said: “It was disappointing not to play to any standard at all.

“Obviously it became quite easy for Neil in the end, although he still played some astonishing stuff which would have been good to watch, had it not been me sitting in the chair.

“It was all quite painless in the end. I wasn’t really at the races.”

Two-time former champion John Higgins was made to struggle by Michael Holt and almost found himself trailing after their opening session.

Holt, who made a break of 102 in the third frame, led 3-1 and 4-2 but Higgins took advantage of a missed pink by his opponent in the seventh frame to claw one back.

The 33-year-old Scot, who won his world titles in 1998 and 2007, then levelled the match with a 91 break and dominated the ninth frame to clinch a 5-4 overnight lead.

Dark horse Ryan Day passed his first test at the World Championship by rolling past Stephen Lee.

Day beat the former world number five 10-4, and the Welshman will face Peter Ebdon’s conqueror Nigel Bond next, in a second-round match due to start tomorrow morning.

Day’s top break was an immaculate 120 in the eighth frame, which would have been a total clearance but for the black staying out.

Trowbridge’s Lee had his shot at glory when he potted six reds and blacks at the outset of the 13th frame.

He only had eyes for a maximum 147, which would have secured him up to £157,000 in prize-money, but an attempted double on the next red failed to find the pocket.

He lost the frame and Day won a slow-paced 14th frame to seal victory.


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