Snooker: Robertson starts to tap into his talent

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The Independent Online

Neil Robertson, a 24-year-old Australian who has been threatening a major breakthrough for the last couple of seasons, capitalised on his quarter-final defeat of Ronnie O'Sullivan by defeating Alan McManus 6-2 in their semi-final of the Royal London Watches Grand Prix in Aberdeen.

The world under-21 champion three years ago and five times an unsuccessful world-ranking quarter-finalist, Robertson has honed his formidable natural talent by practising six hours a day, six days a week at his British base, Cambridge Snooker Centre. In Melbourne during the summer he came within a ball of making two 147s in three frames.

McManus, the last Scot left for Aberdonians to cheer after the surprise quarter-final exit of John Higgins to Mark King, is ranked 19th - outside the top 16 for the first time in 15 years.

He remains a dogged competitor but made a vital blunder in the fourth frame. Having won the day's opening frame on the pink, he led 2-0 through a break of 100 and appeared certain to lead 3-1 when a fluked double started a clearance to brown which left Robertson two snookers to tie.

Assuming the frame was his, though, he played the blue carelessly. Robertson laid two successful snookers, cleared the last three colours and added the tie-break black.

This utterly changed the momentum as Robertson seized the fifth with a break of 79, kept McManus scoreless in the sixth and added the seventh with a yellow-to-pink clearance. A black-ball win completed the Australian's six-frame winning streak to victory.