Finals, News

Rousing Robertson Wins in Riga

Neil Robertson began the 2016/17 campaign in style after triumphing in the Riga Masters on Friday.

Neil Robertson
Robertson stays no.5 in the world rankings.

The Australian beat Michael Holt 5-2 in the final to land the first ranking event of a season for the third time in the last four years.

With the disbandment of the previous European Tour, the Riga Masters returned for a third season, now with the elevated status of a full ranking event.

Holt, therefore, was featuring in his maiden ranking event final after coming from 4-3 down to narrowly beat Mark Williams in a dramatic semi-final decider – gaining revenge for his last 16 World Championship defeat to the Welshman in April.

By Contrast, Holt had fond memories from the Crucible of playing Robertson having ousted the former world no.1 in the opening round, but could not repeat the same level of performance in a less than free-flowing showdown in Latvia.

Despite going 2-1 in front, it was Robertson who began to take control of proceedings, using his experience on the big occasion to see him through the winning line.

It marks the 34 year-old’s twelfth ranking event success, taking him above Ding Junhui as he becomes the most successful player ever from outside the United Kingdom.

Whether one feel’s that these statistics are going to be diluted with the rise in status of the likes of the Riga Masters and, more controversially, the Shoot-Out is very much up for debate.

Yet, Robertson won’t care too much, and will be pleased to take home €50,000 for a mere three days of work.

“It’s an amazing feeling to win the first ranking event of the season,” said Robertson, who won the Champion of Champions and UK Championship last term.

“I have done it a couple of times before and it’s a good feeling because you can try to build on it for the remainder of the season. I wasn’t too sure what to expect coming here, but as it went on I played really well.

“Michael is one of the most improved players on the circuit, he’s worked a lot with Terry Griffiths and you can see that in his game. He’s not afraid of the top players any more.

“The final was really hard work. I had to dig in deep and I potted some really good balls under pressure. I’m looking forward to the World Open in China next month and trying to claim another title.”

Robertson had earlier won a semi-final encounter with amateur Darren Morgan, who at 50 became the oldest competitor in 30 years to feature in a ranking semi-final.

There’ll be no action again next week before the Indian Open returns on July 5th.

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