Robertson Foils Fu in Bangkok

Two-time runner-up Neil Robertson came from 3-1 down to beat Marco Fu in a deciding frame on the opening day of the 2015 Players Championship Grand Final in Thailand.

Robertson lost to Stephen Lee in 2012 and Ding in 2013 - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
Robertson lost to Stephen Lee in 2012’s final and Ding in 2013 – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The Australian, beaten finalist in 2012 and 2013, appeared to be heading for an early exit but fought well to reverse the two-frame deficit and advance to the second round.

Defending champion Barry Hawkins is out, though, after succumbing to a 4-2 loss at the hands of fellow Englishman Mark King.

It has been a dreadful start to 2015 for the 35 year-old with only a solitary victory to his name so far in almost three months of competition.

That said, King scored heavily with runs of 56, 72, 60, 78 and 64 helping him to his first appearance in the last 16 of a ranking event all season.

The lucrative Grand Final, with 100,000 at stake for the champion, will play a key part in who gets the final automatic position at the upcoming World Championship in Sheffield.

Scotland’s Stephen Maguire currently has the advantage and will be breathing just a little easier following a hard-fought 4-3 triumph over countryman John Higgins on Tuesday.

Maguire has quite a lot of money to come off his rankings from the 2013 China Open so will be aware that a strong display here is necessary to safeguard his place.

Helping his cause is the fact that one of the chasing pack, Robert Milkins, was sent home already from Bangkok after a heavy 4-0 defeat to Chris Wakelin.

Welshman Michael White arguably represents the biggest threat, though, and the in-form 23 year-old is in action on day two against Martin Gould.

Elsewhere, 2013 champion Ding Junhui suffered yet another first round exit this season – this time to Joe Perry following a 4-1 scoreline.

Again, Perry played well compiling breaks of 53, 98, 74 and 51 but Ding’s sequence of poor results must surely be a cause of concern for the Asian no.1.

Meanwhile, Mark Allen, who has been quiet in the second half of the season so far, came from a frame down with two to play in beating Ryan Day 4-3, while Matthew Selt ousted youngster Oliver Lines 4-1.

Finally, Michael Holt got his first win since December after a 4-2 success over Jimmy Robertson.

Wednesday sees the remaining eight encounters in the first round take place with the likes of Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy entering the fray.

Coverage is on Eurosport.

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