Unwell Robertson survives tough test as China Open begins

Neil RobertsonWORLD number one Neil Robertson thwarted off a comeback from Anthony Hamilton to edge his way into the second round of the China Open.

Robertson, who won the Beijing title last year beating Mark Selby in the final, looked in control of his opening round tie leading 4-2 before the Nottingham potter took the next two frames to force a decider.

But Robertson managed to battle his way to the winning post by taking a scrappy ninth frame after Hamilton failed to take advantage of a good opportunity to win it.

After the game Robertson took to Twitter to reveal he was unwell throughout the match. He tweeted: “One of the greatest wins of my career. Possibly wouldn’t have got on the plane had I known my virus was this bad.”

The opening day of the 2014 also saw Jimmy White boost his chances of remaining on the World Snooker tour next season after he beat David Morris 5-2.

The victory earned White an extra £3,500 in his pocket and therefore moved him up two more places in the all-important end-of-season money list – putting him nicely above the top 64 position needed for players to retain their professional status.

Other players in relative danger of losing their place on the main tour who benefited from the tournament’s opening day were James Wattana, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Mike Dunn who all recorded vital victories in their efforts to keep their tour card.

Former world champion Graeme Dott came from 4-3 behind to defeat Rory McLeod and Mark King edged out a nine-frame beating Aditya Mehta 5-4.

Jamie O’Neill, who looks more than likely to drop out of the main tour, had a good day on the baize beating Kyren Wilson 5-3.

Yu Delu, Luca Brecel and John Astley also progressed after winning their wildcard matches. But Sam Baird suffered a surprise 5-2 defeat to Zhou Xintong in their wildcard encounter.

Tuesday will see more of snooker’s top stars begin their China Open account with the likes of Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Marco Fu and John Higgins in action.

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