Neil Robertson avoided the fate of his fellow seeds this week to book a place in the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions in Coventry.
The Australian comfortably whitewashed Rory McLeod in his opening encounter before completing a hard-fought 6-3 triumph over schoolboy Yan Bingtao in the last eight.
Yan had earlier in the day caused the second sensation of the tournament following his World Cup winning teammate’s ousting of world champion Stuart Bingham on Tuesday, by doing likewise against 2005 Crucible king Shaun Murphy by a scoreline of 4-2.
Despite snatching a nervy first frame on the black, Murphy looked edgy from the outset and the 15 year-old took advantage to seal a memorable win against an elite ranked opponent.
The young Chinese cueist, the reigning world amateur champion, was on course to challenge for another considerable upset in his tie with Robertson as well.
However, from 3-3 Robertson moved up a gear with breaks of 73, 93 and 50 to ensure that he wasn’t going to be added to the long casualty list in this lucrative event.
For Yan, and indeed Zhou Yuelong who overcame Bingham, it is a reminder to everyone that even though the tournaments seem to be drying up a little in China, the interest and the conveyor belt of fresh competitors remains as strong as ever.
Indeed, Clive Everton mentioned in commentary on ITV yesterday that Chinese television was picking up the broadcast of Yan’s matches back in his native country.
Robertson, meanwhile, will now look forward to a semi-final clash with close friend Joe Perry on Saturday, while today sees the final last four spot determined.
It’s bound to be an enthralling Friday too with Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire, Barry Hawkins and Mark Allen all in contention.
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