Australian Goldfields Open 2013: Robertson, Fu To Contest Final

The final of the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open will be contested between world number one Neil Robertson and former Grand Prix winner Marco Fu, after the two came through their respective finals today…

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During the first two years of the Australian Goldfields Open, local hope Neil Robertson has failed to make it beyond the last 16 stage of the event, but in 2013 he is through to the final following a 6-3 victory against Leicester’s Mark Selby today.

A contest dubbed as the ‘dream semi-final’ between the world’s two top ranked players, the match got off to a cagey start, with good safety from both players and chances for both as the frames were shared.

It was after the interval that the match truly caught fire however, Selby potting a long red and taking the fifth frame in one visit with a break of 76, before Robertson did likewise with a run of 86 to level again at 3-3.

As Robertson took the next to lead 4-3, it would be the eighth frame that would prove perhaps the most significant of the match, as the battle came down to the final red. It looked as though the battle would be won by Selby, though needing the awkward pink the chance was not a formality.

Mark was not to get that far however, as he suffered a kick on the green, which saw the object ball wobble in the jaws and stay out, allowing Robertson to clear for 5-3.

At the time, in a match which had seen little to choose between two very evenly matched players, that sequence of events had the feel of a significant turning point and so it would prove, as Robertson then claimed victory with a tournament high clearance of 138 in the next frame.

The world’s number one player, this final marks the fourth time from the last five full-ranking event tournaments that Neil has made it through to the final, while if he were to win tomorrow, it would be his third victory from four, following wins at the China Open and Wuxi Classic.

For the stattos out there, victory tomorrow would see Neil become the first person to win back to back ranking events since Ronnie O’Sullivan back in 2008, as well as the first to do so in the same season since Ronnie in 2003. He would also become the first to win three events from four since Mark Williams back in 1998/9, demonstrating just how consistent the Australian has now become and why he is ranked number one.

That said, to make those statistics become a reality, he must first defeat Marco Fu, after the former Grand Prix champion edged out Robert Milkins 6-4 in a scrappy opening semi-final.

It was Fu who made the stronger start to lead 4-1, before Milkins hit back with three in a row to level at 4-4. It was Fu though who had the last laugh, breaks of 60 and 26 enough to give him the last two frames and seal his place in the final.

A semi-finalist at the event last year, Marco seems to enjoy playing in Bendigo, though perhaps somewhat under the radar, he has enjoyed a consistent run of form for a year or so now, having also reached the final of the German Masters earlier this year.

His reward is a place back inside the world’s top 16 provisionally and with few points to come off during the remainder of this season, he could yet climb higher.

But can he beat Robertson? He has done so on five occasions in the past, though none of these came in ranking events and the pair have not met since their match in the Premier League back in 2010. Indeed I think that there is very little to read into the head to head statistics here as far as either player is concerned.

We shall see, Robertson will be a justified favourite and no doubt a man on a mission to win his home tournament, at what could very possibly be his last chance to do so, but Fu at his best is more than capable of causing an upset.

We shall see tomorrow…