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Neil Robertson crashes out of English Open

Cambridge snooker ace makes early exit

Neil Robertson was left to rue his bad luck after surrendering a 3-0 lead to crash out of the snooker’s English Open on Thursday afternoon.

The top seeds have been falling left, right and centre at EventCity, Manchester with Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui and Mark Allen all exiting before the last-16 stage.

And Robertson was the latest to join them as Xiao Guodong recovered from the brink of defeat to register a 4-3 victory in the last-32 clash.

The Cambridge-based Australian appeared to be on cruise control as classy breaks of 121 and 125 saw him race into a 3-0 lead before the Chinese star responded to reel off the next four frames, despite not making a single half-century break.

And Robertson was left scratching his head as to how he managed to lose to the world No 49.

“He played about six or seven match-losing shots from 3-0 down and got away with them,” explained Robertson. “In a best-of-seven it can happen.

“I made a couple of mistakes but other than that it went pretty scrappy and he did what he had to do.

“If you were to analyse that, he played maybe three shots that looked like they would be his last shot but he got away with it. I missed a couple – I was looking really good at 3-0 but things can quickly turn.

“It was summed up in the last frame when I potted the green and landed in the only possible place on the table where I wasn’t perfect on the brown.

“That left me a tough blue and I was so close to it that it stayed right over the hole and gave him the chance to win.

“The matches and the tournaments come so quickly that you’re going to have results where you don’t play particularly well. You just have to move on to the next one.”

With a relentless run of tournaments set to continue – there are a further six events before the calendar flips to 2017 – Robertson will have plenty of opportunities to avenge the defeat.

He acknowledges that it is almost impossible to consistently produce your very best snooker and admits that the best-of-seven format lends itself to top players suffering shock defeats.

“It’s such a short format that these upsets are going to happen,” added Robertson. “In tournaments like the UK Championship and World Championship you’ve got time to prepare and if you put the work in, you’re likely to get a good result.

“There was some good stuff from me against Xiao but there was almost some rustiness as well.

“With how much we’re playing, it’s hard to keep up a really high standard all the time. You need to win matches when you’re not playing well and you need to get the run of the ball.”

*Watch the English Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.

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