Neil Robertson full of praise for Robert Milkins after Dafabet Northern Ireland Open exit

PUBLISHED: 11:16 24 November 2017

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And Joe Perry also makes last 16 exit.

Neil Robertson believes it took a performance beyond anything he has experienced this season for Robert Milkins to knock him out of the Dafabet Northern Ireland Open.

The Cambridge-based snooker player looked in decent nick in Belfast but in Milkins he found a man inspired, losing 4-3 without really doing too much wrong.

In fact this was arguably the world No 10’s best performance of the week, making a century and two other breaks greater than 50 in the Waterfront Hall.

Yet Milkins – yet to get beyond a semi-final in a ranking event – took it to the next level, visits of 51, 88 and 54 taking him to the last 16, though Robertson was far from perturbed by the loss.

“It’s the best anyone has ever played against me all season, that’s the only way you can sum that up,” he said.

“I was happy with the way I played, I would rather be beaten by somebody who’s had to play really well to win.

“I’m disappointed, it was a much-improved performance from myself compared to this one or the round before so I can only say well done to Rob.

“He’s one of the most dangerous underdogs, when he plays someone he should beat that’s when he struggles, it’s very easy playing as an underdog and it will be interesting to see how he goes.

“I’ve been quite unlucky in some matches, losing some deciders in the last-16 but that’s what happens, I just have to keep knocking on the door and see what happens.”

Meanwhile there was further disappointment for Joe Perry, who was frustrated with the way he was beaten by Mike Dunn in the last-16.

Dunn’s slow play proved to be a bone of contention for the world No 22, visibly agitated at being unable to find a rhythm in Belfast.

That meant a 4-1 defeat was to come his way, with Perry the only player to make a break greater than 50 – much to his disappointment.

“I was poor, I wanted to get off to a good start against him because I don’t like playing him, I don’t like the way he plays and it all snowballed from there,” said Perry, who trains at WT’s in Cambridge.

“I got frustrated and I’m disappointed in myself for that – he’s a lovely guy but I just hate playing him.

“He’s got a very unique style and a lot of players will say that they’re not a big fan, it is difficult to play, it was always going to be a funny game and I’d have rather played against better players.

“I’ve got off to a good start and missed an easy red in the first frame and never really got back into that first one after that.”

Kurt Maflin also took to the table in Belfast this week, losing out to Elliot Slessor in the last-64 – the man who went on to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan.

*Watch the Northern Ireland Open LIVE on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and Quest with Colin Murray and daily studio analysis with Neal Foulds

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