Jimmy Robertson recaptured the form that saw him lift the 2018 European Masters as a 140 break helped him reach the Championship League last 32 in Leicester.
Robertson won Group Four in style, starting his Monday with breaks of 61, 100 and 66 in a 3-0 victory against Sean Maddocks.
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A 60 knock saw him recover from 2-0 behind against Jimmy White to earn a 2-2 draw after the six-times world finalist made 54 and 58 before a 3-1 win over former Masters finalist Joe Perry in the group decider finalised his progress.
Perry only needed a draw after two 3-0 victories against White and Maddocks respectively, but fell to a 3-1 win defeat to Robertson in a nervy encounter that was a repeat of the European Masters final three years ago that Robertson won 9-6.
Robertson opened with 140 before Perry restored parity at 1-1 with a run of 92.
“I feel a nervous wreck. It’s brilliant to get through, I am really chuffed with that," said the world number 63 Robertson, who missed a black off its spot against Perry before staggering over the line by edging the fourth frame.
On the whole, I am happy with parts how I played with, but I also missed a lot of balls today but that’s what I’d expect when I haven’t played a competitive tournament for four months, just delighted to get through.
“It’s not a bad position to be in (knowing he needed to win), I didn’t do it convincingly, but a win is a win and I am through to the next stage.
“After going through that last season, I don’t really want to go through that again. It wasn’t a nice experience. I’m so happy to come through what I ended up, coming through in the end and keeping my tour card. It might make me stronger this season, so I am hoping to get a few results and crack on this year.”
“After I won that tournament (2018 European Masters), I didn’t expect to be consistently getting to the later stages of tournaments, but I didn’t think on the other hand I’d be doing as bad as I did after that.
"Once you start losing on tour, it’s very tough and your confidence goes a little bit. But I know what it takes to win when I’m at the latter stages.”
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World number 115 Ashley Hugill was the surprise winner of Group 24 with resounding 3-0 wins over former UK champion Stephen Maguire and John Astley respectively coming after he produced a break of 80 in a 2-2 draw with Sunny Akani.
“It’s just the start to the season I was looking for. I know everyone had drawn to that point so I knew beating Stephen would get me close to winning the group," said Hugill.
“I realised last season, I was being too tentative in a lot of matches, I realised I was always trying to go under the radar and not backing myself enough. This season I am just trying to play with a lot more of authority around the table.”
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