Neil Robertson and Wu Yize will face each other in the first round of the 2023 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
This season for Neil Robertson
After spending so many years among the top four of the world rankings, it seems a little strange to think of Neil Robertson as just the sixth seed.
But to put it simply, it’s been a shocking season for the Australian in relation to what we’ve become used to.
There have been several incredible standalone displays, but supplementary to that have been poor outings that have resulted in his failure to reach a single ranking final all season.
Robertson did claim silverware with the help of Thailand’s Mink Nutcharut in the World Mixed Doubles.
But last season the 41 year-old triumphed in both the Players and Tour Championship, highlighting the surprise in his failure to even qualify for either event through the one-year rankings list this term.
Robertson has endured disappointment after disappointment at the Crucible since winning the world title in 2010, but perhaps he might benefit this year from flying in under the radar a touch.
This season for Wu Yize
One of four Chinese players making a debut at the Crucible Theatre this season is Wu Yize.
Few would have predicted his successful progress through the qualifiers, but the world number 62 has deservedly sealed his first appearance at the sport’s mecca.
Wu, just 19, is playing in only his second season as a professional on the main tour, making this an even greater achievement.
The teenager reached the quarter-finals of the European Masters at the start of the 2022/23 season and secured match victories in both the English Open and the WST Classic too.
After a damaging campaign amid the ongoing match-fixing case, Crucible debuts for Wu, Si, Fan, and Pang offer a glimmer of light in an otherwise painful period for Chinese snooker.
Robertson and Wu head-to-head
This will be the first time that Robertson and Wu will face each other in a competitive match on the World Snooker Tour.
It has been one of Neil Robertson’s worst seasons in the last 16 or 17 years, but in a strange way might that help him?
So often in the past, the Melbourne man has entered Sheffield as one of the heavy favourites only to disappoint with early exits time and time again.
In 2023, he will come in a little under the radar and there should be no question of burnout given how little he’s had to play in recent months.
Wu is a quality player and is unlikely to just roll over, but Robertson should have more than enough to advance to sterner tests.
Prediction: Neil Robertson 10-4 Wu Yize
Saturday, April 15th – 2:30pm
Sunday, April 16th – 2:30pm
Featured photo credit: WST