Grand Prix 2009: Robertson Recovery Sinks Greene

World number nine Neil Robertson avoided becoming the latest high profile casualty in the opening round of this year’s Grand Prix but not without a scare as Gerard Greene led him 3-1 at the interval. Click below for more on this match and also the one involving Jamie Cope and Ryan Day…

Click here to see how the results have affected the provisional rankings.

Neil Robertson 5-3 Gerard Greene

32(32)-95(79), 13-74, 74(56)-27, 0-97(97), 79(78)-5, 66-28, 85(61)-0, 77-41

Neil Robertson is through to the last 16 of the Grand Prix, the event he won back in 2006 following a 5-3 victory over Gerard Greene this evening.

It was actually Gerard who made the better start, notching up breaks of 79 and 97 on the way to a 3-1 interval lead and it looked like we might see yet another seed crash out of the tournament at this early stage.

The break proved to be a real turning point however and although Gerard had his chances, Neil was much improved, as he was from 3-1 down against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Premier League last week and took the next four frames to complete an important win.

With so many seeds already out of the tournament you can be sure that Neil will fancy his chances of repeating his win in Aberdeen three years ago with success in Glasgow and though he was not at his best tonight, the important thing is that he remains in the draw. His win also lifts him one place in the provisional rankings up to fifth and if he can run deep into this event, could possibly move above Ali Carter into fourth.

Ryan Day 3-5 Jamie Cope

69(64)-70(37), 35-64, 134(134)-4, 74(73)-7, 69-39(37) , 55(55)-71(45), 48(38)-75(64), 27-83 (67)

Despite two failed maximum attempts from Ryan it was to be the 2006 Grand Prix runner-up Jamie Cope who would move into the last 16 with a 5-3 victory.

In what was a strange match it was Ryan who made the stronger start as he looked to make the first 147 break of his career before a missed red to the left-centre on 64 gave Jamie a second chance. Though he managed to get himself back into the frame, he could not pot a tricky black from the final red which meant that he would now need two snookers to win the frame. Sure enough however, Ryan soon left him a free ball and the man from Stoke made the most of his opportunity and cleared to steal the frame.

As would become a theme, Jamie managed to take the second, another scrappy frame to lead 2-0 before a dramatic third frame saw Ryan come even closer to joining the maximum club. Unfortunately however with the pink in an awkward position on the left side of the table, he could not come nicely on it and saw his attempt to pot it to the green pocket end in failure.

Still he was back in the match and a further run of 73 in the next frame soon brought him level. At this stage he was looking the more settled player and he took a scrappy fifth to go into the lead for the first time at 3-2.

The following three frames however would see a succession of tight frames and though Day looked more reliable in the balls, a series of poor errors at crucial moments combined with some lacklustre safety play gave Jamie a way back into the match. As the Shotgun went into the lead at 4-3 at last he appeared to be finding his form and following another poor shot from his Welsh opponent, hit 67 to all but secure victory.

Could this be the season that Jamie cracks the top 16 at last? I do hope so as he has been knocking on the door for some time now without quite finding the consistency required and I do think he has the quality to succeed at that level. He is now up to 15th provisionally and as someone who knows what it takes to make the final here, will be one to avoid in Tuesday’s draw.

For last season’s runner-up Ryan Day however it is a disappointing result, particularly as for much of the match he appeared to be the better player. The wait for that elusive title breakthrough now goes on and he will have a long wait before he has a chance to put things right at the UK Championship in Telford.