Robertson cruises past Ford
Neil Robertson cracked in four centuries as he handed out a 6-1 first-round beating to Tom Ford at the UK Championship in York.
The former World and current Masters champion looked hugely impressive with perhaps the most convincing display from anyone at the tournament so far and, with two of his title rivals in the shape of Mark Allen and Judd Trump having already perished, he can look ahead with some optimism.
On paper his battle with Leicester's Ford had looked a potentially tough one - Ford has been playing well and recently made a maximum at a tournament in Belgium - but the Melbourne left-hander was in imperious touch.
His only notable slip came when he missed a routine red in the sixth frame when on 45 - Ford slipped in with a 58 to take his only frame - and he shone with contributions of 129, 112, 100 and 127, the latter all the more admirable as it came with the black out of commission for the large part.
"I felt mega-confident today," Robertson said afterwards.
"Practice has been going very well and I've got a good record against Tom. When I have played him previously I think it's been 6-0 and 6-1 and I knew if I could get on top of him early on then it would be tough for him."
Only seven players can list the UK, World and Masters titles on their resume, but Robertson will make that eight if he can win two more games than last season when he was knocked out at the last-four stage by eventual winner Trump.
And, while he does not publicly admit that the early departures of Allen and Trump have enhanced his chances greatly here, he is intent on joining that illustrious list of tri-winners.
"There are still some great players left in the tournament," said the 30-year-old, who will next face Barry Hawkins.
"But for me, it would be fantastic to hold the Masters and win the UK, that would be a special feeling. I have the opportunity to do that and to win all three in a short space of time would be great."