Neil Robertson had to come from 3-5 down to beat Ding Junhui 6-5 in his first round tie of this year’s Masters at the Alexandra Palace.
The Australian was in real trouble when the 2011 winner won the eighth frame to move to just one away from knocking out the reigning champion on day one.
Despite taking a 2-0 lead, Robertson needed to win the last three frames of the match deny Ding the opportunity to progress. The Thunder from Down Under seemed to find his best snooker when he needed it the most with breaks of 100, 62 and 90 to advance into the second round.
It was a disappointing blow for the Chinese player who played his part in top quality match, with the Masters odds pre-game suggesting he would go far in the tournament. Ding hit breaks of 103 and 127 to prove how dangerous he was in the break building. However, it now means that he has not been beyond the second round of any of the five premier tournaments so far this season.
The defending champion and Betfair snooker favourite will now face Mark Allen on Thursday after the Northern Irishman came through his clash with Mark Davis 6-2.
Those two players were locked at 2-2 at the mid-session interval, with a 136 coming from Allen in the opening frame. However, the Pistol didn’t give Davis a chance after the break winning four consecutive frames for a comprehensive victory.
It’s not been the best of season so far for the man from Antrim Town with just a quarter-final appearance at the International Championship to show for it. He has only once reached the last four in this competition when he was defeated in the semi-final by Marco Fu in 2011.