Robertson and Wenbo to contest UK final

NEIL Robertson and Liang Wenbo will battle it out on Sunday to win the 2015 UK Championship.

Australian Robertson could not have wished for a better way to reach the grand final of the tournament after thrashing world number one Mark Selby 6-0.

Neil Robertson. Picture by Monique Limbos

Neil Robertson. Picture by Monique Limbos

Chinese number 2 Wenbo secured a place in his second major ranking final after he battled his way to a 6-4 victory over David Grace in the daytime semi-final.

Wenbo’s first major final came six years ago when he lost 10-5 to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Shanghai Masters. And once again he stands just one win away from his maiden debut ranking title.

Interestingly, this will be the first ever UK Championship final between two overseas players with the winner claiming the trophy and a top prize of £150,000.

Unsurprisingly bookies make Robertson the red hot favourite to land the title which would be his second UK Championship title after winning the event for the first time two year ago.

The Australian appears to be in his best form for some time after winning the invitational Champion of Champions event last month.

Robertson has taken that momentum to York where he has enjoyed more success with thumping wins over the likes of Stephen Maguire and Selby yesterday as well as a tough win over the season’s most successful player so far John Higgins.

And there were moments last night when the Australian played Selby at his own game stealing frames which really he should never have won such as the first two frames when he came back from more than 50 points down to take a 2-0 lead.

That fantastic start gave Robertson the momentum he needed and a missed red to a centre pocket from Selby helped him on his way to a 3-0 lead. He then won a scrappy fourth frame to take a 4-0 lead.

Any hopes of a Selby comeback when Robertson made an impressive clearance from green to lack to go 5-0 ahead. And Robertson booked his place in the final thanks to a sensational long green during a 49 minute frame.

After the match Robertson said it was great for snooker to have an all overseas UK Championship final.

“It’s funny that the UK Championship will be won by either an Australian or someone from China,” he said.

“I think that speaks volumes for the way the game’s going, it’s fantastic. Ding Junhui and I have competed in a lot of big matches and now I’m going to be playing Liang. It’s great for the game that the overseas contingent is doing really well.

“I’m going to forget about today’s result pretty much when I get back to my apartment, chill out and maybe play some video games. I’ll start afresh tomorrow as it’s the best of 19 frames so that’s the way I’m going to address it.”

Wenbo made much harder work of his semi-final and had to come back from 4-2 down to beat world number 81 Grace.

Liang Wenbo. Picture by Monique Limbos

Liang Wenbo. Picture by Monique Limbos

And when he clinched the tenth frame to seal his place in the final he jumped for joy in front of the crowd.

“I’m so happy. I was thinking of this match as a final, not a semi-final,” Liang said after the match.

“I started the first frame very badly and couldn’t concentrate and my head was gone. In the mid-session my coach talked me to me and told me to relax and to control the table. I did well after that. If I can concentrate and stay strong in the final I will have a chance.”

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