Dott Denies Robertson Comeback

Graeme Dott survived an almost unbelievable fight back from reigning champion Neil Robertson to reach the quarter-finals of the UK Championship after a dramatic 6-5 victory.

Dott's best UK performance is a semi-final appearance in 2006 - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos
Dott’s best UK performance is a semi-final appearance in 2006 – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos

The Scot, who has only featured in the last eight twice before, looked set to complete a rare whitewash double following his 6-0 drubbing of Robert Milkins in the third round when he led Robertson 5-0 on Wednesday.

However, the Australian bounced back with two tons, along with runs of 79, 72 and 59 to force a decider.

Both players had chances in the final frame before Dott’s 56 proved enough to ultimately get him over the winning line.

It’s an important victory for the 37 year-old, with the 2006 world champion seeking at least a last four position in order to gain an invitation into the prestigious Masters in January.

Robertson will undoubtedly be disappointed with himself that he surrendered the first five frames initially but must take solace in a remarkably high-scoring comeback that almost reaped rewards.

The result also has added significance on the world rankings, with China’s Ding Junhui now guaranteed to be world no.1 for the first time in his career upon the event’s conclusion.

Dott will play Stuart Bingham for a semi-final spot after the Shanghai master beat the International champion in a surprisingly one-sided affair 6-0.

Meanwhile, three-time champion John Higgins also exited the tournament after an equally thrilling 6-5 defeat to countryman Anthony McGill.

Higgins, who has struggled for form of late but who did look like a competitor reborn in the early rounds, trailed 4-1 and 5-3 before leveling the contest with breaks of 69 and 129.

The 39 year-old then got in first in a tight 11th frame but his young opponent, 16 years Higgins’ junior, held himself together to book a ranking event quarter-final berth for only the second time in his career.

With Robertson and Higgins now casualties in the top half of the draw, things are looking increasingly good for Ronnie O’Sullivan as we reach the business end of proceedings.

Last a winner of the UK in 2007, the ‘Rocket’ must first overcome Matthew Selt to set up a clash with McGill, but will surely be starting to fancy his chances of landing the title for a fifth time despite his ailing ankle.

Elsewhere, Mark Davis put an end to giant-killer James Cahill’s run with a comfortable enough 6-2 triumph over the 18 year-old.

The fourth round is completed on Thursday with four ex-champions in action.

Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu repeat the 2008 final which the Englishman won 10-9 while Judd Trump, the 2011 winner, faces Rod Lawler.

Finally, 2004 victor Stephen Maguire takes on Ireland’s David Morris, the conqueror of world champion Mark Selby in the second round.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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