UK Championship seeds

European Masters Final: Joe Perry vs Jimmy Robertson

Two Englishmen will contest the European Masters title decider on Sunday with Joe Perry and Jimmy Robertson set to do battle for the title in Belgium.

European Masters final
Perry won the last four frames to beat Hamilton. Photo credit: World Snooker

The pair emerged from hard-fought last four encounters with Anthony Hamilton and Mark King respectively to set up a clash in Lommel for the £75,000 top prize.

The fifth ranking event of the season will produce a surprise champion either way after a strange tournament that saw all the top seeds fall by the wayside in the earlier rounds.

That said, Robertson will be the clear underdog with this match representing his maiden appearance in a final of this status.

Perry, now 44 and one of the veterans of the main tour having been a pro for more than 25 years, is hoping to add to his sole success from three years ago when he triumphed in the Players Tour Championship Grand Final.

Much is naturally made of the fabled “Class of 1992” that produced players such as Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, and Mark Williams but there were a lot of other talented competitors from that time who went on to become household names, including Perry.

The former world number eight will be the favourite to call upon that experience in today’s showdown, which will be played over the best of 17 frames.

However, Perry’s opponent in the final has produced a somewhat unbelievable run in this event already and if ever there was a name already etched on a trophy, it was in this.

Robertson emerged from the qualifiers in Preston a couple of months ago with a 4-3 victory over Andy Lee that concluded on the final pink before an incredible hat-trick of black-ball finishes in his first three matches at the venue.

The 32 year-old has always had the talent to be a genuine contender in the game but has often faltered on the main stage in front of the TV lights.

With victories over Mark Allen in the quarter-finals, in which he compiled the tournament-high break of 135, and a 6-4 success over King that boasted an additional 132 century knock, Robertson has firmly set the record straight.

The world number 36 will surely now fancy his chances of going all the way and lifting the trophy aloft come the climax of play at De Souverein.

Perry and Robertson have clashed on six previous occasions with the former enjoying the superior head-to-head record having won four times, albeit only one of their fixtures has been played in a format longer than best of seven.

A two-session final will be an entirely different prospect to consider and something that Perry will probable be able to get acclimatised to much quicker than the challenger.

But there’s no doubting the fact that his stomach will likely also be tied up in knots and his record in finals isn’t a good one with three defeats in ranking event title deciders and a reverse to O’Sullivan in the final of the Masters on his CV.

Another subplot that will ratchet up the pressure even further is that a triumph for either will result in an invitation to the lucrative Champion of Champions next month in Coventry.

A lot to play for then and it could well be a dramatic and nervy tussle to the finish line between two players that few would have predicted make it this far.

Live coverage of the final is on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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