NEIL ROBERTSON may be a world champion but he will be in unfamiliar territory in today’s UK Championship.

The Australian has never made the semi-final of snooker’s second biggest tournament, but booked his spot in the last four with an impressive 6-2 victory over Ding Junhui.

Robertson trailed 2-1 early on but took five frames on the trot to beat the Chinese two-time UK winner, who admitted afterwards that he hadn’t been “interested” in the tournament’s shortened format.

By contrast, Robertson looked in great nick – recording seven breaks over 40, including 101 in the second frame – and draining a host of brilliant long pots.

He made 55 in the first only to lose it, as Ding swept in and struck the first blow with a 66 clearance.

And when excellent pots on the blue and pink gave Ding a close third frame, it looked like a match that could go to the wire.

But Robertson gradually overpowered the Chinese star – victory in the sixth, following a tense safety battle on the final blue, seeming to utterly deflate Ding.

When he missed an easy black on 33, when 5-2 down, Robertson was clinical and scored 79 to take the match.

“I wasn’t interested, it (format) is too short,” complained Ding afterwards. “I was 6-2 down last year and came back to 8-8; this year I am 6-2 and gone.

“I wasn’t interested before the tournament. I just came to try to win games. I won two matches, that’s it.”

Robertson, meanwhile, is sensing he has an excellent chance to add the UK to his world crown.

“Ding is one of the best players in the world,” he said. “It was a big occasion, a quarter-final, and I played fantastically well.

“I could have won every frame but, obviously, I am very happy with 6-2.”