German Masters 2011: Robertson out, Carter survives

Race for the Crucible – Updated Projected Seedings

What a night from Berlin as a series of close matches resulted in the exit of the world champion at the first hurdle as he struggled to recover from a poor start against the sparkling Anthony Hamilton…

Evening Results:

Anthony Hamilton 5 – 4 Neil Robertson
Ricky Walden 5 – 2 Jack Lisowski
Joe Perry 5 – 3 Jamie Cope
Allister Carter 5 – 4 Stephen Lee
Shaun Murphy 5 – 3 Ryan Day

Reigning world champion Neil Robertson made it to the venue tonight, but his lack of preparation, arriving at the venue just 40 minutes prior to the start of the match proved to be costly as he failed to recover from a poor start against a heavy scoring Anthony Hamilton.

From the start Neil appeared to be struggling, missing two chances in the first frame and one in the second to allow Anthony to move into an early 2-0 lead. It looked like being 3-0 but for a well-timed clearance from the world champion following a missed frame ball red with the rest from Hamilton. The Nottingham veteran was not to be disheartened though, notching up the first of what would be three century breaks prior to the interval to restore his deserved two frame cushion.

Following the break we saw the first signs of a Robertson revival as he made his second clearance in three frames, this one containing a brilliant shot from pink to black to keep his hopes alive. Hamilton managed to take the next frame to leave himself just one away at 4-2 but having spurned his first chance for the match in frame seven, Robertson then found his spark, two frame-winning breaks forcing a ninth and deciding frame.

At this stage many would have fancied Neil to come through but it was to be Hamilton who knocked in the first long red and create the first opportunity in the match. Early on it appeared as though it might go astray but eventually he managed to secure an impressive victory with a break of 116, his third century of the match.

He might not be as consistent as he used to be but on his day Hamilton is still one of the better break builders in the sport, indeed 11th on the all-time century list that probably does him a disservice. this season with the creation of the new PTC events, despite a couple of defeats in qualifying his form has generally been good and perhaps this is the week when he gets his reward for that.

For Neil it is a disappointing result, but maybe given the circumstances surrounding his missing passport it will be the one that acts as the wake-up call that he needs when it comes to the organisational side of his career. He will be back though, in Wales at the tournament he won for the first time back in 2007.

Also winning through tonight in a deciding frame was Shanghai Masters champion Ali Carter who fought back from 4-3 down to defeat the in-form Stephen Lee tonight. It was a close match throughout, never more than a frame in it but it was always the qualifier who appeared to have the upper hand. Ali though was able to up his game when it really mattered and hit back to book his place in the last 16.

There he will face Joe Perry who gained a measure of revenge against Jamie Cope tonight for his defeat to the Shotgun back at the Crucible in 2009 with a 5-3 victory tonight. Joe has been out of the limelight for some time but is now showing signs of a return to form with the new cue that he is slowly adapting to.

Elsewhere tonight, Shaun Murphy completed an impressive 5-3 victory against Ryan Day to secure his passage to the next round and a tie with Joe Swail. Although he missed out on a potential maximum break, Shaun will rightly be very pleased with a victory against a player who will surely return to the top 16 at some stage.

The final match was the most comprehensive as Ricky Walden raced to a 3-0 lead against Jack Lisowski and never really looked back, eventually recording a 5-2 victory against his young opponent.