Neil Robertson made it back-to-back titles in Poland after falling over the line in his final against Jamie Burnett at the Gdynia Open.
Following on from last season’s success for the Australian in Warsaw, Robertson went on another run to the final that included wins over Tian Pengfei and Stephen Maguire on Sunday.
The 30 year-old looked to be in complete control in the final when he raced into a 3-0 advantage – aided by a superb century break of 118 in the second frame – but his stamina and concentration appeared to wane thereafter.
This allowed his opponent, who was only contesting his second ever professional final and was in search of a maiden title, to slowly launch a comeback that very nearly turned into a victory.
37 year-old Burnett fought well to regain parity at 3-3 and ensure the big crowd was treated to a tense finale but eventually just fell short with the winning line in sight.
A nervy conclusion it was, though, as first the pink went over the corner pocket resulting in the mandatory confining safety duel and then subsequently both players wasted opportunities to bag the success.
Burnett, feeling the pressure of a first piece of silverware within his grasp, missed a relatively simple black off the spot that finally ended his chances as Robertson mopped up to stumble over the winning line himself.
It was an unusual end, particularly for the man from Down Under who has proven himself almost unbeatable when he manages to reach the final of an event.
Indeed, he has only ever lost once in more than a dozen finals – in Galway at the PTC Grand Finals – and perhaps his ability to scramble home the victory tonight has cemented his pedigree to win at any cost necessary.
In fact, he apologised to the fans in his post-match speech for such a protracted ending but admitted that he will do whatever it takes to succeed – the sign of a true champion.
There was a small debate between a few of the regulars on Twitter earlier that bandied around the names of the great overseas (outside the UK) players.
Ken Doherty, Cliff Thorburn and Ding Junhui all spring to mind immediately but it is becoming clear that Neil Robertson could very well take over the mantle as the greatest player from around the world, if he hasn’t already done so.
For Burnett, it’s a disappointing conclusion to what has been an excellent event for the Scotsman.
He came from 3-0 behind to pip Rory McLeod in a decider in the early rounds before impressive triumphs over Kurt Maflin and Michael Holt earned him a berth in the final.
It continues the trend of some of the lesser-known, journeymen if you will, players of the circuit who have fought gallantly and finally received their just rewards and some recognition with a deep run in a tournament.
So, once again a competition in Europe passes by with very little trouble and a lot to feel hopeful about.
Attendances were very good throughout – the only slight hiccup in my opinion being the dodgy schedule that I commented on yesterday.
Never mind, we’ll look forward to returning to Poland next season again I’m sure.
The full list of results can be viewed by clicking here.