Neil Roberton targeting Betway UK Championship hat-trick after reaching final at Milton Keynes
By Ross Lawson
A place among the greats is up for grabs for Neil Robertson as the Australian cueman bids for his third Betway UK Championship snooker title.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Diggins and Ding Junhui are the only players to win the Triple Crown event on three occasions, with Robertson’s hat-trick ambitions beginning in Sunday’s best-of-19 clash in Milton Keynes.
The Cambridge-based potter has already won snooker’s Triple Crown – adding Masters and World Championship titles to his UK success – but he is not content with being done just yet.
“Winning for a third time would be unbelievable, not many people have done that,” he said.
“Fans of different players will always argue about who’s better, and should I win then maybe it settles a couple of arguments.
“I’ve just got to go out and enjoy it and not let myself down, playing the game on my terms.
“There are fewer players who have won the UK Championships than have won all three major events, which is pretty incredible.
“I’d join real great company there and I’d be really motivated to do so.
“This is my third final, hopefully it’s third time lucky. I’m really pleased with how I’m playing at the moment and hopefully I can give a good account of myself in the final.”
Robertson’s place in the final comes after downing Zhou Yuelong 6-2 behind closed doors, maintaining form that has seen him reach three major finals since October alone.
Breaks of 125, 118 and 104 helped the fourth seed into an early lead against his Chinese opponent, and while Zhou fought back with a 141, Robertson scored 89 to win with three frames to spare.
Now his focus is on winning the trophy in style.
He added: “I’m at my best level, but I don’t want to put a ceiling on it.
“This year, I’ve improved as a player again, and you have to. There are too many top players in the game – you had the top four in tennis, but in snooker you can add a couple more to that which makes it difficult to win titles.
“It gives you a reason to get up and make sure you’re putting in the hours on the table – my performances this week have come as a consequence of that.
“You have to play well to win or you definitely lose.
“Performances are important, in a final you’d love to win regardless of the performance but you really want to win it in really good style.
“In the past, I’ve forced my way over the line by grafting it out a bit more, but in the past few years I’ve really opened up, gone for my shots and scored heavily, which has given me lots of satisfaction.”