Robertson completes triple crown

The Bolton News: Neil Robertson kisses the UK Championship trophy Neil Robertson kisses the UK Championship trophy

Neil Robertson recovered from a dismal start to beat Mark Selby 10-7 in the williamhill.com UK Championship final and complete snooker's triple crown.

Selby, who on Saturday made snooker's 100th official maximum as he won his semi-final against Ricky Walden 9-5, opened the final with a 130 and pulled away into a commanding 5-1 lead.

But world number one Robertson crucially took the last two frames of the afternoon session and back-to-back centuries brought him level at 6-6.

He won the next two frames as well and pinched the 16th on the black to move within a frame of victory, which he completed with a 57 break.

The Australian becomes only the eighth player to win the World, UK and Masters titles.

Robertson told BBC Sport: "When I beat John Higgins earlier this year in the Wuxi Classic, I said that was the best I'd ever played in a final but the second session tonight was definitely the best I've played in a final."

With Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O'Sullivan, John and Alex Higgins, Terry Griffiths and Mark Williams having won the triple crown, Robertson is the first overseas player to achieve the feat.

And, after appearing to wipe away tears shortly after his win, he said: "To become the first overseas player to win all three, Ding Junhui and I basically turned pro at the same time 10 years ago and to get it ahead of him is a fantastic achievement.

"I'm sure he'll get there some day as well, but to be the first is a fantastic feeling."

Robertson said: "It's probably the most emotional I've ever been, that's the first time winning a tournament that I've actually had tears in my eyes."

He was watched by his mother Alison, who was equally emotional in the audience.

"She was, yeah," he said. "Awww, that's what mums are for I suppose.

"She's been fantastic support all week and I'm sure she'll get some nice Christmas presents now."

Selby took the opening frame with an impressive clearance and though a 63 drew Robertson level, Selby made 49 in the next and eventually took the frame.

Breaks of 39 and 35 were enough for a 3-1 lead, the latter after a good safety forced Robertson into a wild thrash.

He won the first two back as well, Robertson missing a bad black in the second and also failing to take half-chances on the yellow and green.

The Australian narrowed the deficit in frame seven, though he had to work hard for it after a 54 break was ended when he fouled a pink in potting a red.

And he kicked on from that to win the final frame of the session with a 123.

When the players returned for the evening, Selby took the first frame but breaks of 32 and 56 in the next kept Robertson's momentum going.

He made a superb 122 in frame 11 and surpassed even that with a 132 to take the frame before the interval.

His three centuries in the match took him to 58 for the season, just three shy of the record of 61 set last season by Judd Trump.

The first frame back could have gone either way but Robertson eventually took it, and he won a snooker battle on the green to go 8-6 up.

After a re-rack, Selby stopped the rot with breaks of 42 and 74 to win frame 15 but Robertson somehow scraped home in the next.

Selby left the decisive black in the jaws and Robertson, clearly stunned to be given the chance and having earlier missed a frame-ball pink, kept his nerve to pot it right-handed.

He said: "He got the white and the black cleaned and maybe that just gave time for some negative thoughts to get into his head.

"It caught the near knuckle and I thought, 'hang on a minute'.

"Everyone was just in shock, it was like when Davis missed his against (Dennis) Taylor in '85 (in the World Championship final).

"I just thought 'pot the bloody thing - don't get the long stuff out, just play it right-handed', and I played it right-handed and it went in."

Both players had chances in what turned out to be the final frame but Robertson took it with a break of 57.

He continued: "At 9-7 I was really confident, I got the one chance and potted a fantastic long red.

"It's just a real sense of pride, the way I came back from 5-1."

Robertson scoops the top prize of £150,000 for winning the tournament, while Selby earns a runners-up pot of £70,000 in addition to £59,000 for his maximum.

The beaten finalist from Leicester said of the black he missed in frame 16: "Anything half-tricky, I just didn't feel confident of getting it.

"But even if I pot it to go 8-8, I'm still not certain to win the match. I could still go on and lose 10-8.

"The last two frames of the first session were key, if I'd come out 6-2 I'd probably have won the match.

"Neil thoroughly deserved to win. He played better in the match as a whole, and certainly second session he played better."

Saturday's 147 gives Selby a happy memory to take from the tournament and he said: "You've got the history behind it, you've got the prestige of doing it live on the BBC.

"The money that comes with it is great but obviously the main thing is the history of making the 100th maximum."

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