World Snooker Championship 2022: Neil Robertson beats Ashley Hugill in the first round

World Snooker Championship 2022: Neil Robertson beats Ashley Hugill in the first round

Neil Robertson
Neil Robertson won the world championship in 2010
Place: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Appointment: April 16-May 2
Cover: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app

Tournament favorite Neil Robertson looked in worrying form as he beat debutant Ashley Hugill 10-5 in the first round of the World Championship.

Robertson, the 2010 champion, led 3-1 but fought back in devastating fashion as an eight-game frame streak helped him to a comfortable victory.

Robertson will face either Jack Lisowski or Matthew Stevens in the next round.

2015 champion Stuart Bingham leads China’s Lyu Haotian 6-3, while John Higgins takes on Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

Higgins, a four-time Scottish winner, faces Thailand’s Un-Nooh, who is the fastest player on the circuit.

Former Masters champion Yan Bingtao edged Chris Wakelin 5-4 in a high quality first session. China’s Yan had a century plus seven breaks out of 50, while England’s Wakelin contributed 130, 74, 51 and 55.

Robertson ‘undoubtedly’ a contender

Australia’s Robertson has been player of the season so far, winning four titles including the Masters and finishing second in another, but his record at Sheffield is surprisingly poor.

The 40-year-old has reached just one semi-final since lifting the trophy 12 years ago, a run the world number three described as “terrible, awful, shocking”.

But after a slow start and seeing his opponent fall two frames behind, Robertson proved too good for the first Crucible Hugill with a heavy score comprising four centuries as well as runs of 97 and 72.

Robertson’s mother Alison was present when he lifted the trophy 12 years ago and flew out again from Melbourne, the two seeing each other for the first time in three years.

He told BBC Sport: “I was a bit nervous at first but settled in quickly. She arrived three weeks ago and nobody was able to get out of Australia because of the pandemic.

“She’s got a 100 per cent hitting record every time she’s come, seeing me win this tournament, my first UK Championship in 2013 and the Tour Championship this year too. I hope she’s my lucky charm .”

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry said: “It was very strong from Robertson. At 3-1 he could have been down 4-1 and looked pissed off. But like Ronnie O’Sullivan, he did well to be 6-3 ahead after the first session.

“When he comes in he looks like he wants to clear the table every time. There is no doubt that he will be a contender for this world championship.”

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