sport

Robertson edges towards landmark

Neil Robertson moved closer to achieving an unprecedented century of centuries in a single season as he eased through in the Haikou World Open.

The popular Australian has far exceeded the previous record of 61 tons in a campaign, set by Judd Trump last season, and extended his staggering 2013-14 haul to 91 with runs of 111 and 116 in a 5-1 win over Rory McLeod.

World number one Robertson will tackle Marco Fu in the third round as he steps up his bid for a third title this season, having already landed UK Championship and Wuxi Classic silverware.

Robertson is away and clear in the century stakes, but Ding Junhui has the edge over him on the trophy front, having already reeled in four big ones in ranking events this term.

Another in China this week would mean Ding matches Stephen Hendry's all-time record of five in a season, with the China Open and World Championship still to come.

Ding almost had his comeuppance in the second round as he trailed India's Pankaj Advani 4-2, but breaks of 52, 136 and 86 saw the match turn around 5-4 in favour of the home player, who plays Shaun Murphy - a 5-1 second-round winner over Mark King - next.

While Robertson and Ding aim high, Mark Allen is arguably still the man to beat, as he attempts to win this tournament for a third successive year.

It is the only major ranking event at which the Northern Irishman has ever triumphed, but he has a taste for it and came from 3-2 behind to overcome former world champion Mark Williams 5-3 in their second-round tussle.

Allen was relieved to see off his fellow left-hander, and revealed he achieved the win on the back of just two hours of sleep overnight.

"It was enough today. I wouldn't recommend it," Allen said on worldsnooker.com.

"Every time I come to China my sleep pattern is pretty bad. But I've won a few tournaments out here so I can't complain.

"I'll never use lack of sleep as an excuse for losing a match but I'd rather get a few more hours than two."

Next for Allen is Ricky Walden - a 5-1 victor against Ken Doherty.

Other winners on Wednesday included Shoot-Out champion Dominic Dale, Kurt Maflin, Mark Selby, Alan McManus, John Higgins, Graeme Dott and Trump.

Trump was in trouble at 4-3 behind against experienced Welshman Matthew Stevens, but the 24-year-old Bristolian pulled through in a decider.