Snooker news - Robertson edges thriller as Higgins crashes out to world number 103 in Welsh Open

Robertson edges thriller against Maflin as Higgins crashes out to world number 103
By Eurosport

15/02/2019 at 22:08Updated 16/02/2019 at 09:10

Neil Robertson fought from 4-2 down to deny world number 49 Kurt Maflin a first rankings semi-final in four years at the Welsh Open.

A break of 104 helped Maflin race to a 3-0 lead, but Robertson reduced the deficit to 3-2 with a 91 break of his own.

Maflin then moved within a frame of victory, only to see Robertson score 69 and a remarkable 136 to level the match.

Video - Robertson 'gutted' for pal Kurt Maflin


A decisive moment in the decider saw Maflin pot a long red before the white then nudged a red against a black, which pocketed into the bottom-right corner.

Robertson then seized his chance to squeeze through 5-4, and he will now face Hossein Vafaei, who stormed into the semis with a 5-1 victory over Scott Donaldson.

Vafaei lost the opening frame, but breaks of 76, 75 and 92 helped him set up a showdown with Robertson.

Meanwhile, John Higgins suffered a huge upset at the Welsh Open on Friday, losing 5-3 to little-known Joe O'Connor at the Motorpoint Arena.

In a match of the highest quality, Higgins and O'Connor traded big breaks after the Englishman had taken an early two-frame lead.

A clearance of 106 from Higgins in the fourth frame suggested that the veteran was ready to come back after the break and blow his opponent away. But O'Connor had other ideas, with breaks of 70 and 72 putting him on the brink of victory.

And in the eighth frame he delivered in style, racking up a massive break of 131 to seal the victory in style.

Video - Watch Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan recreate the perfect banana shot


Earlier on Friday, former champion Stuart Bingham booked his place in this year's Welsh Open semi-finals with a 5-2 victory over Zhao Xintong.

Zhao, 22, opened up with a break of 92 to take a lead over the 2017 champion.

Video - 'We have our first semi finalist at the Welsh Open!' - Bingham makes the last four


However former champion of the world Bingham responded in majestic style, winning four frames on the bounce in blistering fashion.

That run included breaks of 134, 99, 59 and 67.

He looked set to complete a comfortable victory before a couple of errors allowed Zhao to pull back with a break of 75.

In the seventh frame the pair both had chances to win but an ambitious long brown gave Bingham the frame and the match.

Quarter-final results

  • John Higgins 3-5 Joe O'Connor
  • Stuart Bingham 5-2 Zhao Xintong
  • Hossein Vafaei 5-1 Scott Donaldson
  • Neil Robertson 5-4 Kurt Maflin