Robertson storms to Beijing victory
Article and images courtesy of www.worldsnooker.com
Neil Robertson claimed his second XingPai China Open title by defeating Jack Lisowski 11-4 in the final in Beijing.
The victory marks the 16th ranking title of Robertson’s career and moves him clear of Mark Selby to occupy sixth position alone in the all-time ranking event winner’s list.
The Australian picks up £225,000 for his win and that sees him boosted from seventh to fourth position in the world rankings. That means he will now be in the top half of the draw for this month’s World Championship. His total prize-money for the season has now passed the £500,000 mark.
Robertson will head to the Crucible in a red hot streak of form, having now appeared in four consecutive ranking finals. He won the Welsh Open and was runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Players Championship and the Tour Championship. It’s the first time Robertson has secured three ranking titles in a single season, having also won the Riga Masters earlier in the campaign.
Lisowski will be disappointed not to have picked up a maiden ranking title. However, he has the consolation of the £90,000 runner-up prize, which is the biggest payday of his career. The Englishman’s performance this week has confirmed his place in the top 16 for the World Championship and he will now compete at the Crucible as a seed for the first time.
Robertson had established a dominant position after the opening session today, moving 8-2 in front after the first ten frames.
When they came out this evening, he immediately moved to the verge of victory with runs of 91 and 50 to go 10-2 up. Lisowski refused to fall away and claimed two on the bounce to provide some resistance and take the match to the mid-session interval.
However, Robertson quickly snuffed out any comeback hopes for Lisowski, with a break of 79 to seal the 11-4 victory.
“I was very determined going into today. I’ve lost my last two finals and with this being my sixth final of the season, I didn’t want it to be two wins and four losses,” said Robertson. “Playing someone like Jack Lisowski meant I had to play really well. When you know you have to play well to win, it gives you so much motivation. I was really concentrated throughout. It was probably one of my best ever performances from start to finish in an event. Especially in China, when you have to adapt to the jetlag.
“It seems like such a long time since I won the World Championship in 2010. Going into it this year, it is the first time in a while I am just going to go and entertain the crowd and play some attacking snooker that they can enjoy. Hopefully the results will just take care of themselves. In the last few years I have tried to get into the last 16 and the quarters and work my way into the tournament. I have won three ranking events and a massive competition this week, I’m just going to relax and enjoy myself.”
Afterwards Lisowski was keen to take the positives from this week and is now looking ahead to the upcoming World Championship.
He said: “I’ve got to learn from this week and think about what happened. Neil played great today and I wasn’t that good. I can still see there are a lot of places with room for improvement. I have to knuckle down, as I could see my game getting better throughout the week.
“My ranking is really going up and I am a seed in the World Championship. My game is finally there and I feel like I have proven myself to a point now. There is still a lot to do, but I’m not in a mess with my game like I was a few years ago.”