Robertson Storms Back To Take Wuxi Classic

Congratulations to Neil Robertson, who has today defeated John Higgins 10-7 to capture the 2013 Wuxi Classic in China. Coming back from 5-2 down in the opening session, the Australian won six frames in a row to turn the match in his favour and win back to back ranking event titles in China, following his victory at the China Open in March.

The victory sees Neil take home the top prize of £80,000, as well as 7,000 ranking points to consolidate his position as world number one, now some 7,320 points ahead of second placed Mark Selby in the latest projected seedings list.

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  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings

Resuming this afternoon a frame behind his opponent, but having taken the last two of the opening session with a top break of 113, Neil Robertson wasted little time this evening in continuing his winning streak to defeat John Higgins and capture the 2013 Wuxi Classic.

Having taken the opening two frames of the session in little over half an hour with a top break of 57, the Australian then stole a dramatic 12th frame from 52-0 down, before adding the next with 59 to lead 8-5 at the mid-session interval.

As you would expect, Higgins did not give up and as the next two were shared, he then took a topsy turvy 16th frame on the pink to keep himself in the match, notably producing a brilliant shot on the final brown to screw back and move the blue into a pottable position.

Despite that however, it was not to be the Scot’s day and as an errant safety shot saw the cue ball catch the knuckle above the right-centre pocket, leaving Robertson with an easy starter, the Australian would not need another opportunity to get over the line and wrap up a 10-7 victory.

As I mused yesterday, the victory marks Neil’s second in a row in China, some achievement for a player who for so long struggled to produce his best snooker in the country. At first glance, I believe that this makes him the first player to win back to back titles in China since Ronnie O’Sullivan back in 1999-2000, while it also marks his third final in the last four, having lost out to Judd Trump in the final of last year’s International Championship.

Inevitably, different players will come in and out of form at different stages of what promises to be another hectic season, but right now both Neil and John look to be the two to beat. For Neil in particular, his consistency over the past year or so has been second to none and it will be interesting to see just how many more titles the world number one will win this season. As a point of interest, the victory means that as a nation, Australia has now won more ranking titles than any other country, outside of the big three of England, Scotland and Wales – all won by Robertson.

As for Higgins, while disappointed to have lost, having come into the season with little form and having questioned whether his decline might be irreversible, no doubt he will be content to have won a PTC and reached a major final already at this stage of the season.

Looking back at the tournament as a whole, it is interesting that for all of the talk of upsets and new opportunities, with the tournament the first to be staged under the new flat draw system, when it came down to the final, arguably the two strongest players were nevertheless able to make it through to the final. That does not mean that there have not been upsets of course, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy can testify to that, but it does show that more often than not, the best players will still win, regardless of the system.

Unusually, we now have a short gap in the calendar, before the Australian Goldfields Open kicks off in Bendigo on 8th July 2013. Stay tuned to PSB for all of the latest news as ever, with a few interviews hopefully to come in the meantime…