Neil Robertson prepared for tough tests to come at Betway UK Championship
Two-time Betway UK Championship winner Neil Robertson hailed his 6-0 opening-round victory as the perfect start, but acknowledged he is prepared for much sterner tests to come.
The 37-year-old Cambridge-based potter cruised through to the last 64 with a dominant performance over Maltese veteran Alex Borg, who was no match for the Thunder from Down Under.
After edging a closely-fought opening frame 65-45, Robertson posted breaks of 81 in the second and third to open a healthy lead before notching the game’s solitary ton in the fourth.
And having hit another half-century on his way to a comprehensive win, the 2010 world champion admitted he couldn’t have asked for a better start to the first Triple Crown event of the season.
But with world 125 Borg having struggled to gain a foothold in the clash throughout its entirety, Robertson knows there is still plenty of room for improvement in York.
“That was a great way to start the tournament,” said Robertson. “You want to get through nice and easily in the first round.
“Alex is very experienced, but he didn’t really show up today and I wasn’t really put under any pressure. I know I’ll likely have to play a lot better in the second round.
“But I know if I play well, then I’ll win. As with the other top players, if I play at my full potential - and put my opponent under pressure - then I win.”
Robertson arrived in Yorkshire as one of the favourites to add to his 16 ranking titles after winning the Champion of Champions title earlier this month but has endured a stop-and-start season so far.
But even in the tournament’s early stages, he insisted the added sense of occasion at the Barbican made him hungry to perform on one of snooker’s most prestigious stages.
He said: “It’s been a really funny season. I feel I’ve only been able to play properly in about two or three events even though I’ve entered about seven or eight.
“I flew out on the day of the Northern Ireland Open and played - which I shouldn’t have done - and lost in the opening round. But when I’ve played properly, I’ve done well.
“There’s a lot of exposure here, everyone’s watching and there’s always great support in York. Even in that opening round it was a great crowd and it was brilliant to see.
“It makes a big difference because you want to go out there and perform. There was that motivation there today to go and play for the crowd, and I’m really excited to come back and fight in the next round at the weekend.”
Watch the UK Championship snooker LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player. Analysis from Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan.