England’s Jimmy Robertson has won his maiden ranking event title after a 9-6 triumph over Joe Perry in the final of the European Masters in Belgium on Sunday.
The 32 year-old produced a clinical finish to complete an unbelievable week that seemingly had his name etched on the trophy from the very beginning.
Robertson’s run to the final, bettering his previous best performance in a ranking event by two rounds, included a succession of victories that went right down to the wire.
In his qualifying fixture in August at the Preston Guild Hall, Robertson edged Andy Lee on the final pink but that was only the precursor for what was to come as his first three encounters in Lommel produced a barely believable hat-trick of black ball climaxes.
Whether one believes in the power of omens or not, it’s difficult to deny the boost in confidence that Robertson naturally would have been jolted with after emerging from such tight affairs unscathed and he certainly took full advantage in the business end of the competition.
Upon reaching the final with wins over Mark Allen and Mark King, Robertson was again the underdog against an opponent who has spent much of his career inside the top 16 in the world rankings.
But Perry, seeking a second career ranking title to add to his Players Tour Championship Grand Finals success from three years ago, was never quite able to recover from going 5-0 down at the start of the showdown.
Perry twice made bids to get back on level terms but the 44 year-old could crucially never quite restore parity.
After reducing the arrears to 5-3 at the conclusion of an opening session that was packed full of nerves, Robertson pinched an equally tense first frame of the evening’s bout of play to halt Perry’s progress.
From then on, the complexion of the final completely changed with the scrappy play and a body of amateurish misses replaced by a sustained spell of heavy scoring.
A 56 from Perry proved not to be enough in the tenth frame as Robertson reestablished a four-frame cushion with a timely 75 clearance but a brace of centuries and three additional runs above 50 saw the former rally to trail by only one at 7-6 down.
From here, Robertson would have been forgiven to yield under the pressure of a scenario he had never experienced before but instead the world number 36 compiled a run of 54 to go to within the brink before a brilliant 108 century break sealed the victory in the next.
Not only does Robertson become the latest member of the ranking event winners’ club, but his triumph also guarantees him an invitational into the lucrative Champion of Champions invitational next month in Coventry.
Robertson will also be well placed to qualify for the Ladbrokes Series of rich events later in the campaign, so this moment could really open up several doors for the Bexhill-on-Sea cueist in his career.
Having frequently had the label of being a talented player who could never perform to his capabilities in front of the TV lights, it will be interesting to see what transformation this glory might have on Robertson’s game overall.
For Perry, it was another disappointing defeat in a ranking event final and the “Gentleman” will be left to wonder how many more opportunities he’ll have to claim some silverware.
This week right from the off has all been about Robertson, though, and with the £75,000 champion’s cheque he’ll be able to have a well-earned celebration after a dramatic week brought him his first ranking crown.
💬 “I never thought this day would happen.”
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) October 7, 2018