PartyPoker Premier League – Event 10,
Group A: Neil Robertson 4-2 Ding Junhui
Group B: Peter Ebdon 4-2 John Higgins
NEIL Robertson produced the mother of all comebacks to book his place in the PartyPoker Premier League semi-finals in a thrilling contest against Ding Junhui.
In a pulsating match at Durham’s Spennymoor Leisure Centre, the Australian looked down and out when Ding took a 2-0 lead. But potting the final black in the third frame started a remarkable comeback in one of the best games the Premier League has ever seen.
Because Ding had won more frames than Robertson prior to the crucial clash, a draw for the Chinese star would have been enough to make the last four of the competition and he got off to a great start by stealing a dramatic opening frame.
Robertson looked to have done enough to win frame one when leading 71-53 with just the pink and black left on the table. But it all changed when Ding got a much-needed snooker which Robertson could not escape to reduce his arrears to just 12 points with 13 remaining.
Moments later Robertson took the pink on but missed it and left it on for Ding who then potted it before dramatically missing the final black.
But to everyone’s surprise Robertson failed to take advantage of Ding’s error and missed it as well before Ding eventually punished him to take a 1-0 lead.
Ding then appeared to be in the driving seat for the final Premier League semi-final spot when a break of 95 put him 2-0 in front. Robertson could not afford any more setbacks with Ding needing just one more frame.
But the match began to turn when Ding missed an important black when he was 59 points ahead in the third frame. Robertson fought back with true grit and bravely doubled in the final black to keep his semi-final hopes alive.
The Australian then made a break of 70 in frame four before turning the match around with a top break of 41 in the fifth. With the score at 3-2 to Robertson, the identity of the final semi-finalist went down to the wire.
And it was looking for all money Ding would break Robertson’s heart when he stormed into a 57 point lead but missed a tricky black after slightly losing position with the cueball.
Robertson could only comeback with 16 points to his name but when Ding played a poor safety shot and left a red to the middle pocket – there was to be no stopping Robertson completing a remarkable fightback and set up a last four encounter with Judd Trump in a fortnight’s time.
The night’s opening match saw Peter Ebdon get the better of recent UK PTC4 champion John Higgins in a 4-2 win.
The match was something of a dead-rubber contest between the pair with the Scot already having secured his place in the semi-finals and with Ebdon mathematically out of the competition.
After a scrappy opening frame which went in Ebdon’s favour, Higgins showed the Durham crowd his brilliant form with back to back century breaks (125 and 133) which saw him go 2-1 up.
But sadly that was the best it got for Higgins on the night as Ebdon took the remaining three frames with high breaks of 81 and 75.
Higgins’ defeat meant he finished runner-up of Group B and will play Group A winner Stuart Bingham in the semi-finals on Saturday, November 24.
2012 PartyPoker Premier League – Semi-Final Line up:
Stuart BINGHAM vs John HIGGINS
Judd TRUMP vs Neil ROBERTSON