WELL what a fantastic start to the season we’ve seen in the Wuxi Classic.
The first major final of the new 2014/15 campaign went all the way as Neil Robertson denied close friend and practice partner Joe Perry his first major ranking title in an enthralling 19-frame final.
Victory for Robertson helped heal the heartbreak he felt last month when he fell just short of reaching his second World Championship in a fantastic semi-final showdown with eventual winner Mark Selby. And just weeks before the Australian lost the China Open final to Ding Junhui.
And you could see how much victory meant to him afterwards when he looked to be breaking down in tears before lofting up the trophy for the second year running.
His reaction showed great sportsmanship and respect for his worthy opponent who he has practiced with for many years at Willie Thorne’s Snooker and Sporting Club in Cambridge.
Robertson has so much respect for Perry, he praised him significantly after his World Championship triumph four years ago.
“Joe Perry is a great practice partner and a great friend, and I wouldn’t have got to where I am without Joe,” he said after winning snooker’s biggest prize in 2010.
Perry will no doubt be hugely disappointed not to have won his first major ranking title, especially with the fact he had it in his grasp at 9-8 in front.
But he can take great heart for a wonderful week in China where he followed up his two major ranking semi-final appearances last season as well as his victory in last season’s Yixing Open.
Don’t forget Perry was just two frames away of knocking out Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible before the five-times world champion produced his stunning best to complete a comeback win in the second round.
More performances and consistency from him as we have seen over the course of the year will surely see Perry lift silverware sooner rather than later. I don’t think many will deny he deserves it.
As for Robertson he goes into his home tournament – The Australian Goldfields Open (starting Monday) with the first major title in his hands.
With no world champion (Mark Selby) and defending champion (Marco Fu) in sight, Robertson could be set for even more early-season success in front of huge support.
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