Robertson needs to find Crucible clinical edge

Neil Robertson reached the summit of world snooker in 2010 with a brilliant performance to win the World Championship. The Australian was renowned for his attacking approach on the table that earned him a lot of plaudits, although success on the major stage eluded him in the early stages of his career.

Robertson made a breakthrough in the 2009 campaign by storming his way to the semi-finals, only to be beaten by Shaun Murphy. However, he returned a year later and produced inspired snooker to win the World Championship for the first time, overcoming Graeme Dott in the final by an 18-13 margin at the Crucible Theatre.

At the age of 28, Robertson was expected to be a force at the top of the game, but he has failed to add to his crown despite his immense talent. Robertson has been backed at +550 in the Betfair snooker betting odds to win the 2022 World Championship, although it would take a drastic change in fortunes for the 39-year-old at the event as he has failed to deliver on snooker’s major stage since his triumph. In 11 competitions since winning the crown, Robertson has never reached the final, coming closest in 2014 when he was knocked out in the last four by Mark Selby. For the past three years on the bounce, the Australian has exited the World Championship in the quarter-finals.

Robertson’s defeat last year was all the more surprising considering that he was in outstanding form heading into the event. The left-hander enjoyed great success in ranking tournaments, beginning with a surge to the final of the English Open. He then defeated Judd Trump in a thriller in the UK Championship, capitalising on a key mistake from the Englishman to snatch the crown. Robertson secured the second instalment of the Triple Crown by beating Trump. The Australian was rampant at the Tour Championship, easing his way past Kyren Wilson, Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan to claim his second victory of the season in a ranking event.

He showed no signs of slipping in the opening two rounds of the World Championship, cruising into the quarter-finals by beating Liang Wenbo and Jack Lisowski in the opening two rounds. However, Wilson got revenge for his Tour Championship defeat to send the number three seed on his way with a 13-8 triumph at the Crucible.

Robertson is now preparing to end his drought at the 12th time of asking, and he has displayed his excellence and consistency on the World Snooker Tour by winning the 21st ranking crown of his career at the English Open. The Australian earned a semblance of revenge by defeating Wilson in the last eight before edging past Mark King. John Higgins lay in wait in the final, but the Australian was clinical when it mattered the most to edge out the Scot. Greater challenges will be on the horizon for Robertson, but he needs to ensure that he brings his best to the World Championship to justify his outstanding talent around the table. One world crown is not enough for a player of his calibre.

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