Four Left in Australia

Neil Robertson continued his quest on Thursday to capture glory in his home event, the Australian Open in Bendigo.

The 32 year-old was in a tough encounter with Englishman Robert Milkins in his quarter-final bout today when the scores were locked at 2-2 at the interval.

Yet, Robbo was able to pull away after the brief respite to book a semi-final spot against Mark Davis.

In the second of two deciders in the last eight, Davis came from one frame down with two to play to oust 2011 champion Stuart Bingham with breaks of 53 and 50.

Earlier in the day Down Under, Judd Trump prevailed in a high-scoring affair with Ricky Walden by a single frame margin as well.

The pair traded blow for blow with runs of 110, 104, 86, 85, 80, 77 and 72 ensuring that most of the frames were completed in one visit.

Former world no.1 Trump, who endured a mostly disappointing last campaign, will face Xiao Guodong after the Chinese defeated Matthew Stevens 5-2.

Just as Joe Perry and Martin Gould had the chance last week to accomplish a maiden ranking event triumph at the Wuxi Classic once they reached the last four, so too is this a fantastic opportunity for Davis and Xiao to do likewise.

For Davis, 41, victory over Robertson would mark his first time to even feature in a final while 25 year-old Xiao has already experience the feat when he lost to Ding Junhui in last year’s Shanghai Masters showdown.

Both players face a difficult task, though.

Robertson, fresh off his victory in Wuxi on Sunday, is in a determined mood as he bids to go one better than his runner-up placement in Oz this time last year.

There are many titles that the Melbourne man is yet to win but, having already collected the World, UK and Masters crowns, one imagines that winning on home soil would be his next most defining moment.

Early on in his time in this event, Robertson struggled with the pressure of the expectation to perform in front of a nation of fans who demand success.

However, his confidence has grown and one senses that he is now more than ready to fulfill his ambition.

Despite the fact that he must first dislodge the challenge of Davis, it could be argued that Trump poses the biggest threat overall.

The former UK champion is looking in much better shape already compared to many of his lackluster displays of the last 12 months.

The 24 year-old may have won the Championship League in March but it is approaching two years since his last triumph in a ranker – the 2012 International Championship – which is a long time for someone of Trump’s calibre.

The fact that he has emerged from two tough battles with Walden and Alan McManus should stand him in good stead as he comes up against a similarly talented young player in Xiao, who many expect a lot from this season as well.

It’s hard to bet against Robertson at this stage, though, as he sets about regaining his world no.1 position from the absent world champion Mark Selby.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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