Impressive Neil Robertson new williamhill.com UK Championship favourite after crushing win

York Press: Neil Robertson peers over the shoulder of referee Eirian Williams Neil Robertson peers over the shoulder of referee Eirian Williams

FOUR century breaks from Neil Robertson sent out an ominous warning to the rest of the field at this year’s williamhill.com UK Championship.

The Australian brushed Tom Ford aside 6-1 to book a place in the second round against Barry Hawkins.

It was the manner of the victory which was the most impressive aspect of the former world champion’s display.

Opening with a 129 clearance, Robertson also fired in efforts of 112, 100 and 127 to leave qualifier Ford shell-shocked.

With Judd Trump and Mark Allen having crashed out of the competition, the left-hander is now the clear favourite to win on Sunday – but he says there is a long way to go.

“It’s a bit early,” he said. “You can’t really look too far ahead.

“There are still a lot of great players in the competition – like John Higgins and Mark Selby.

“It is up to the players left in to take it on and I think I did that well. The only ball I really missed was at 5-0 and I can’t think of anything else.

“My safety play could improve but I would be a bit too picky there.” Robertson, who will meet Barry Hawkins in round two tomorrow evening, is bidding to become only the eighth player to have won the ‘Triple Crown’ – the World Championship, UK Championship and the Masters – and is motivated by the thought of joining the game’s legends.

“To win all three in a pretty short space of time would be a pretty good feeling,” he said. “It would be fantastic to hold the Masters and win the UK and I have got the opportunity to do that.

“Last year I lost a very close semi-final (against Judd Trump). I feel I am an even better player this year. I just need to keep maintaining momentum.”

On Hawkins, he added: “He’s a really good all round player and is much improved over the last couple of years.

“He won the Australian Open and he is not afraid of winning as much as he used to be. He used to struggle to get over the finishing line.

“He plays a nice, comfortable game and it should be a pretty neat game – the balls won’t go scrappy – and I hope I can play just as well.”

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