Grand Prix 2009: Robertson takes second Grand Prix title

Neil Robertson is the 2009 Grand Prix champion after a slightly anti-climactic final session against Ding Junhui tonight. It looked finely poised at 4-4 but a 57 minute ninth frame ultimately proved to be absolutely pivotal.

Click below to read how the final session unfolded…

Neil Robertson 9-4 Ding Junhui

First Session: 124(124)-1, 97(46)-24, 42(37)-72(28,26), 35-84(80), 0-118(112), 108(108)-13, 66(43)-5
Final Session: 20-95(48,47), 77-52(32), 73(36)-5, 79-34, 60(32)-21, 89(89)-10

Frame Eight:

A white shirted Neil Robertson is out tonight and immediately makes a statement of intent by knocking in an excellent long-red to begin the frame…but he can only make 13 and now Ding is in to show what he can do tonight.

Is the pressure showing already tonight? After doing much of the hard work Ding misses a yellow off the spot on 48 to give Neil another shot. Fortunately for Ding however, Neil’s attempt to split the cluster of the three remaining reds has gone wrong and he has been forced to play safe…

And Ding has won the subsequent safety battle to level the match at 4-4. Both looking slightly edgy tonight but I do wonder whether Ding’s superior safety game might be the decisive factor tonight. Long way to go though…

Frame Nine:

And as soon as I say that a safety error from Ding gives Robertson an early chance in frame nine! He can only make 19 however before a more prolonged safety battle…

After eight and a half minutes without a pot it is Ding who makes the error and now Neil has a chance to add to his points lead…though he can only take his total to 32 before a third visit takes him up to 50. With the balls where they are on the table however, Neil has to be a huge favourite to lead again at 5-4…

Four reds and colours from Ding gets him 32 on the board, he’s back in the frame now with 43 remaining…

After a long safety battle Neil looks to have done enough, leaving Ding needing a snooker with just four balls on the table. The frame has now been going on for over 40 minutes which at 9:10pm is probably not what we needed! Ding is really putting some pressure on right now, has had Neil in three consecutive snookers but so far the Australian is holding firm…

But we have a twist! After a number of fine efforts Ding has got the penalty points he needs and can now win the frame again. This would really hurt Neil… Both players at 93% pot success, both at 88% safety success, there really is nothing in it.

Well after 57 minutes it is a hugely relieved Neil Robertson who knocks in brown, blue and pink and goes back into the lead at 5-4.

Frame Ten:

Neil was obviously delighted to win that last frame and duly managed to get in first in frame ten with a break of 29. Having overhit a shot on the blue however he has had to play safe…

Strange shot from Ding there, having failed with an attempted escape he has changed his shot and underhit it by about two feet. Chance for Neil to wrap up the frame…and he does, 6-4. Could that hour long frame prove to be the big turning point in this match? Maybe, though Ding has shown greater resilience recently and I would not count him out yet. Big frame now however…

Frame Eleven:

First chance to Ding but he’s starting to struggle now and has missed a red on 30 points. As Ken Doherty has just said, worrying times for Ding as if Neil wins this frame to lead 7-4, I don’t think I could see him coming back…

And 7-4 it is, Ding has not played well after the first frame and a half tonight and he will have to play very well now to get back into this one…

Frame Twelve:

After the long mid-session interval the players ar eback out and we have had an amusing moment there as Jan Verhaas had the brown and green on the wrong spots!

Ding’s pot and safety success stats have now fallen considerably since I mentioned them earlier on and another safety error from Ding has given Neil an opportunity to score…only ten however, he’s taking no un-necessary risks and who can blame him with a three frame lead…

This has been a very tactical frame but having got Ding in an almost impossible snooker, Neil has got the opportunity that he has been looking for…well he couldn’t take the frame in one visit but Ding has again failed to take advantage and Neil has surely done enough to secure his fourth frame on the spin and leave himself needing just one more for his second Grand Prix title.

Frame Thirteen:

And that is that, Neil Robertson has taken his second Grand Prix title with a nicely taken break of 89. It is a well deserved title for the Australian who has been the best player this week and it re-affirms his position at nunber #3 in the provisional rankings. Having reached the semi-finals of the World Championship and now won this title, it will be very interesting to see if he can sustain this form in the long term!

More reaction to follow tomorrow…

  • Nico

    Hi Matt (thanks again for your articles and live reports!)

    Sadly, Ding looks tired… (of his recent bad shots), hope he’ll manage to get a boost during the interval, go go come back Ding!

  • matt2745

    I think that ninth frame has been absolutely key, big turning point.

  • Nico

    Totally, yes… Even though he’s improved a LOT in safety play, that frame lasted way too long (almost an hour, yeah?), and he looked kinda ‘bored’ … :-/

    He needs a good chance to do a great clearance, to get going and get some confidence back!

  • thedreamboy

    mon the Melbourne Machine!!!

  • Nico

    Well, no comeback (definitely sleepy, as he said, heh), anyway congrats to Neil, indeed he played the best snooker during the whole tournament, I like his game too so I’m not that sad (just sad for Ding, that he could not produce his best in that second session).

  • GJ

    COME ONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

    title number 4

    number 3 in the rankings

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  • planetreckless