Apr 262013

SHEFFIELD: Australia’s Neil Robertson suffered a shock exit from the World Snooker Championships as the world number two crashed to a 10-8 defeat against Robert Milkins.

Robertson held a 5-4 lead overnight and was expected to finish off the world number 19, but the 2010 world champion produced a lacklustre performance and England’s Milkins was able to take advantage.

“He handled the pressure a lot better than he perhaps would have done a few years ago,” said Robertson.

Milkins, 37, took a 46-minute opener to level at 5-5 before going ahead for the first time in the match.

Robertson showed some form with an 86 break to draw level, but fluency was in short supply for the Melbourne-born star.

Milkins left Robertson needing four snookers at the end of the 17th frame, at 8-8, and he got three of them. But Milkins clipped in a difficult long brown ball and added blue and pink to go one frame away from victory.

Making his first appearance at the Crucible since 2005, Milkins showed few nerves as the winning line approached, but when he missed a blue on 51 they might have been jangling a touch.

But Robertson could not capitalise on his chance to force a decider and Milkins clinched the biggest win of his career.

Milkins explained how being happy in his personal life has transformed his fortunes following the loss of both parents and a painful divorce.

“I’m happy with life. I’ve got a lovely family, good friends behind me, a good manager and a good coach,” he said. “I don’t need much else.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2013.

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