Robertson fights back in final
Defending champion Neil Robertson recovered back to 8-6 down against Mark Selby in the Betfair Masters final at Alexandra Palace in London.
Selby, the winner in 2008 and 2010 and last month's UK Championship victor, led 8-4 at the mid-session interval to move within two frames of the £175,000 prize in the best-of-19 final.
Australian top-seed Robertson put in a gritty response, though, to wrest back the momentum and close the gap on his opponent.
Only three players have successfully defended the Masters title and Robertson fell behind in his bid to emulate Cliff Thorburn, Stephen Hendry and Paul Hunter early in the final.
Five have won the tournament three times or more - Thorburn, Hendry, Hunter, Steve Davis and Ronnie O'Sullivan, whose presence on semi-final day ignited whispers him launching a world title defence.
Selby was seeking to join the quintet in a tournament in which he has a fine record, having won 11 of his first 12 matches in winning twice in three years following his 2008 debut.
The Jester from Leicester started the faster, brushing off the effects of his semi-final defeat of Graeme Dott, when he responded from 4-1 down to triumph 6-5 in a contest which finished after midnight.
An out-of-sorts Robertson saw Selby race to a 3-0 advantage, the third frame featuring his first century break of the final, 102.
The Australian, who by comparison made six centuries en route to the final, attempted to stifle Selby's momentum in the fourth frame in a tactical exchange.
A break of 78 followed for Cambridge-based Robertson, as he opened his account before the mid-session interval.
A break of 84 saw Selby take the fifth frame and Robertson appeared likely to respond immediately as he accumulated 45, but a straightforward blue was missed, allowing his opponent to respond and take a 5-1 advantage.
With two frames remaining in the afternoon session, Selby was guaranteed a lead going into the evening session.
Robertson missed a red to the centre pocket, bringing to an end a break of 63, but he recovered to claim the seventh frame and a score of 72 clinched the eighth.
Selby began the evening session quickly with a break of 67 to go 6-3 up.
He then moved within three frames of the title by edging a scrappy 10th frame to leave Robertson facing a four frame deficit.
A poor safety from Robertson presented Selby with an opportunity in the 11th and he ruthlessly took it with a break of 32.
Again Robertson reduced the arrears before the mid-session interval as he tried to find the form which took him to the final, a break of 74 making the score 8-4.
Robertson still had to win six of the remaining seven frames to successfully defend his title and a missed red into the centre from Selby took his opponent to the table in the 13th frame.
In timely fashion, the Australian made 83, his highest break of the match, to move within three of Selby.
Selby was looking well-placed to take himself closer to victory, only to miss an angled red into the bottom pocket at 50-26.
Robertson handed Selby a reprieve, though, when he skewed the yellow wide as he began the colours.
It began a tactical exchange which Robertson appeared to be leading until he missed the brown, only to then pot the same ball from long range.
He added the blue and then Selby had a chance when Robertson missed the pink, only to fail to take advantage.
Robertson took a comfort break, leaving Selby to contemplate his position.
Hello, regular commenting on Orange News and Sport pages closes on Thursday 30 May 2013. We will continue to provide a commenting facility on major news and sport events on orangeworld.co.uk. Contact us via http://oran.ge/OWfeedback if you have any further questions. Thanks.