Main News, Ranking

Neil Robertson stumbles out of Cheltenham race

Neil Robertson became the biggest casualty at Cheltenham so far after a 4-1 World Grand Prix defeat to Xiao Guodong on Monday.

The first ranking tournament of 2023 commenced at the Centaur less than 24 hours after the thrilling climax to the Masters at the Alexandra Palace.

Robertson had already bowed out in the opening round in London this month while suffering from illness, and the Australian struggled again here.

Despite a 109 break from Robertson in the fourth frame, Xiao was able to stamp his authority on the affair early on and ultimately move into the last 16 at the expense of last season’s runner-up.

Earlier on the first day, Mark Allen safely made it through to the second round after a 4-2 victory over David Gilbert.

The top seed wasn’t at his best but a terrific 133 century break in the fifth frame helped him turn around a 2-1 deficit, and he also took the sixth frame to safely progress to the last 16.

Allen has been by far and away the most consistent player in ranking events this term, winning two titles and reaching at least the semi-finals in two other tournaments.

Meanwhile, Jack Lisowski and Zhou Yuelong managed to survive close encounters in the same quarter of the draw as the Pistol.

Lisowski bounced back from the disappointment of his Masters semi-final thrashing to Mark Williams on Saturday with a comeback defeat of close pal Robert Milkins.

The 31 year-old appeared to be in trouble when losing 3-1, but Lisowski turned on the afterburners with contributions of 60, 102, and 86 to stun his opponent.

Zhou won a similarly tight tie with a barrage of heavy scoring, with the Chinese competitor tallying runs of 107, 104, 66, 60, 59, and 58 in holding off Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in another decider.

On Tuesday, the last 32 of the World Grand Prix continues with Masters champion Judd Trump and world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan among those entering the fray.

World Grand Prix Last 32 Draw

Q1
Mark Allen (1) 4-2
David Gilbert (32)
Lyu Haotian (17) vs Joe O’Connor (16)
(Tues, 7pm)
Zhou Yuelong (9) 4-3 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (24)
Robert Milkins (25) 3-4 Jack Lisowski (8)

Q2
Noppon Saengkham (28) vs Mark Selby (5)
(Tues, est. 3pm)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (21) vs Barry Hawkins (12)
(Tues, 7pm)
Mark Williams (13) vs Jamie Jones (20)
(Tues, 1pm)
Ding Junhui (4) vs Stuart Bingham (29)
(Tues, est. 3pm)

Q3
Kyren Wilson (3) vs Robbie Williams (30)
(Tues, est. 9pm)
Shaun Murphy (14) vs Ali Carter (19)
(Wed, 1pm)
Sam Craigie (22) vs Tom Ford (11)
(Wed, 1pm)
Gary Wilson (6) vs Anthony McGill (27)
(Wed, est. 3pm)

Q4
Luca Brecel (7) vs Joe Perry (26)
(Wed, est. 3pm)
Hossein Vafaei (23) vs Judd Trump (10)
(Tues, est. 9pm)
Xiao Guodong (18) 4-1 Neil Robertson (15)
Ricky Walden (31) vs Ryan Day (2)
(Tues, 1pm)

Where to watch the World Grand Prix

Live coverage of the World Grand Prix will be on ITV Sport throughout the week, with Eurosport and discovery+ also broadcasting the event outside the United Kingdom.

There are other options available for viewers around the world, which you can view by clicking here.

Featured photo credit: WST

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