UK Snooker: Neil Robertson gives semi-final opponent Stuart Bingham top table status

York Press: Neil Robertson concentrates on a finish Neil Robertson concentrates on a finish

WORLD number one Neil Robertson believes conquering the Rocket will make Stuart Bingham the favourite in today’s UK Championship semi-final.

Robertson, who eased past Stephen Maguire 6-2 to reach the last four, insists his “best snooker is still to come” but added: “Stuart won’t be scared of me. I really need to raise my game.”

Robertson savaged the conditions in the arena, describing the table he and Maguire endured as “absolutely garbage”.

“It was almost unplayable,” he explained. “Stephen was getting pretty angry with it himself and I am just glad they will be taking it out of the arena and we will be down to the one table set-up and playing on the main TV table.

“It’s hard to criticise either me or Stephen for some of the balls we missed, or some of the safety shots that were over-hit by six feet.

“There’s just nothing you can do about it. You hit a safety shot and you’ve hit it perfectly fine and the white ends up bouncing back and past the baulk line – three feet or so.

“I don’t know another sport where you get punished so much for things that aren’t your fault. Maybe golf with the elements of wind. They kind of know when that’s coming. You don’t know when a big bounce is coming.

“You can't really play around it. You just have to plug away.”

Poor conditions or not, Robertson was in total control throughout. Putting it all together in the sixth frame with a superb 128, Maguire was subsequently able to make the score respectable by taking the next.

But it was merely delaying the inevitable.

Looking ahead to Bingham, Robertson said that, on paper, his chances of taking the title on Sunday and joining a select band of players to have won the triple crown of the UK, Masters and World Championship had been improved by his opponent’s defeat of Ronnie O'Sullivan.

But he added: “He is improving as the tournament has gone on. He’s looking very comfortable out there.

“I think he played a really good match against Ronnie. Stuart didn’t seem to be making too many mistakes and he is playing well.

“How he has played would probably make him favourite.”

Added Robertson: “He has beaten the best player in the world and I am going to have to try to improve on my previous performances and try to stay with him.

“Ronnie has won the two biggest tournaments we have had – the World Championship and the Champions of Champions.

“Ronnie would have been a tough match but Stuart is playing really well and it is going to be really tough.”


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