Robertson through to Masters final
Australian Neil Robertson is through to the Betfair Masters final.
Defending his title at London's Alexandra Palace, the Melbourne-born 30-year-old clinched his place with an impressive 6-2 victory over Shaun Murphy, and he will face Mark Selby, a 6-5 winner over Graeme Dott in a late-night battle.
Having beaten Murphy in last year's Masters final, Robertson never looked like allowing the Englishman to gain revenge. And an under-par performance from Murphy made it comfortable in the end.
Robertson fired a break of 84 to take the opening frame and further runs of 132, 85 and 127 saw him heavily outscore the 2005 world champion.
Only three players have successfully defended the Masters title - Cliff Thorburn, Stephen Hendry and the late Paul Hunter. Robertson now has a golden chance to join that club, and he said: "It would mean everything. It's a great opportunity to become a part of history."
In the other semi-final, Dott had breaks of 111 and 75 in establishing a 4-1 lead, and he looked to have struck on top form. The turning point came at the end of the sixth frame, when both men missed frame ball before Selby rattled it in. Selby had left himself a fine cut on the pink to the green pocket and failed, leaving the ball for Dott who rammed it in the pocket.
He had everything to do to come down for the black on its spot though, and left the white ball short of the ideal position. Dott, with his confidence up, took it on, but he missed it and the black rattled around the jaws, settling over the pocket to give Selby an easy frame-clincher.
From the brink of 5-1 behind, Selby was instead only 4-2 in arrears, and he ground his way back to 4-4. It was attritional rather than in any way an attractive brand of snooker from the world number one, but it had the desired effect from Selby's perspective.
He looked set to make it 5-4 but Dott won frame nine on a respotted black having needed a snooker as the match time ticked past four hours. It was a big blow for Selby but he pounced in frame 10 when Dott missed a brown to the centre pocked and took the match to a decider with a break of 65, then added a 53 in the last to complete a gritty comeback.
"I think the match was pathetic really," Selby told BBC Two. "Both of us struggled. I just couldn't focus. It was just a matter of digging in and plodding on. I didn't feel comfortable out there. I felt really flat. If I can get a better night's sleep I think I should be okay tomorrow."
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