Neil Robertson praises Betway UK Championship conqueror Yan Bingtao
By Peter White
Former world champion Neil Robertson admitted he was beaten by the better man, as he crashed out of the Betway UK Championship at the last 16 stage.
The 37-year-old had shown signs of gradual improvement en route to the fourth round of the first Triple Crown event of the season, but missed out on a quarter-final spot after being comprehensively beaten 6-1 by Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao.
Yan looked on course for the whitewash after racing into a 5-0 lead, and while he did fight back in dramatic style – notching four snookers to help claim the sixth frame - Robertson could not force what would have been a remarkable comeback.
But despite seeing his quest to add a third UK Championship title to his tally come to an end, the world No 4 was quick to praise his 19-year-old opponent for producing a performance worthy of the win.
“He was brilliant and played as if he had experience well beyond his years,” he said. “He won the Riga Masters earlier this year so I knew it was going to be a tough game.
“At this stage of a tournament he’s a particularly dangerous opponent. I’ve seen him dismantle Ronnie O’Sullivan before and he’s very much in the mould of a giant-killer.
“I was a bit unfortunate at times. I’ll probably have one game a season like that where nothing really goes right, but I still stuck in there and I can’t believe I won the sixth frame.
“I had half a chance in the seventh but I just never got in and around the black spot and he did a great job of keeping it very tight and shutting off my scoring supply.
“I probably need to look at what I could have done a little bit differently, but overall I have no complaints with the defeat.”
With his exit from the tournament in York confirmed, Robertson’s next task lies at the Scottish Open, where he comes up against 1997 Crucible winner Ken Doherty on December 9, before the Masters in the New Year.
And having enjoyed a successful season to date – during which he won the Champion of Champions in November – the Australian potter remains upbeat about his credentials ahead of the rest of the campaign.
He said: “You can get beaten by anyone on this tour and I can’t be too critical of my own performance tonight because I didn’t do too much wrong; Yan just played really well.
“Being beaten here gives me a few more days to get ready for Scotland and the Masters so hopefully I can take advantage of that and finish the New Year off in style.”
*Watch the UK Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White.