Finals

Neil Robertson Pinches Scottish Open Success

Neil Robertson returned to the winners’ enclosure after a remarkable 9-8 victory over Cao Yupeng in the Scottish Open final on Sunday.

Neil Robertson Scottish Open (WS)

A delighted Robertson with his family after receiving the Stephen Hendry Trophy. Photo credit: World Snooker

The Australian, a huge favourite before the contest began, was thoroughly outplayed for the majority of the encounter before staging a late fight back to pinch glory from his wilting opponent.

Cao initially showed few signs of any of the nerves that would have befitted his maiden appearance in a ranking event final.

The Chinese 27 year-old, who compiled a marvellous 147 break at the outset of the event, was written off by many before a shot was even taken at the Emirates Arena but produced nerveless snooker to go to within the brink of success when he established an 8-4 lead.

However, as so many have also fallen victim to in the past, the pressure began to tell on his inexperienced shoulders with the smell of the silverware overwhelming his emotions in the final exchanges of the fixture.

Robertson, whose only previous winning frame in the evening session was a trademark 132, began to rally and won three frames on the bounce to reduce the arrears to just one.

Then, an incredibly dramatic 16th frame ensued with Cao wasting numerous opportunities to seal the £70,000 top prize and the Glasgow crowd began to sense the inevitable, experiencing the agony alongside the hapless challenger as his composure crumbled.

Cao finally rattled the final black to agonisingly leave it over the jaws for Robertson to force a decider, which the former world champion duly won to capture a 13th ranking event title and a first in a year and a half.

For Robertson, it completes a brilliant turnaround in his fortunes after a dreadful spell on the Main Tour had resulted in his plummet outside the top 16 in the world rankings and a failure just last week to secure an invitation to the prestigious Masters in January.

It also extends an amazing streak of having won a competition carrying ranking points in every year since 2006.

The 35 year-old has been very open in his public admissions surrounding the situations in his private life that have probably played a part in his lacklustre recent form.

Robertson first expressed an addiction to gaming before revealing that his wife Mille had been struggling with anxiety and depression – a battle she appears to have overcome at present.

The former world number one, who incidentally will rise back into the top 16 in 15th place, was understandably emotional in his post-final speech after such a thrilling clash, something of a recurring theme in these Home Nations tournaments.

Since the series began in October of last year, there have been seven finals and four of those showdowns have now gone the distance.

Cao, who was also in first with an opportunity in the deciding frame before missing a tricky red to the middle pocket, must surely feel miserable after producing a brilliant display for much of the tie only to utterly collapse when it mattered most at the death.

How this will affect him going forward obviously remains to be seen because a harsh defeat like this could leave plenty of longlasting scars for him to recover from.

But Cao should reflect on what was a wonderful week in general, with a crucial rise into the top 64 in the world rankings secured and a bonus of £22,000 received for his magical maximum moment.

Sunday’s final represented the last trophy to be awarded in 2017 after a thoroughly hectic twelve months in the sport.

The action isn’t quite over just yet with the qualifying stages for the German Masters set to be played in the coming days.

Robertson can be assured of an enjoyable Christmas period, though, as one of the sport’s greatest champions conjured a memorable escape to perfectly round off the year.

Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.

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