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Robertson takes title in Bahrain

Neil Robertson
Robertson had to work hard to beat Welshman Stevens

Neil Robertson claimed his third ranking title with a tense 9-7 victory over Welshman Matthew Stevens in the final of the Bahrain Championship.

The 26-year-old Australian, ranked world number 10, had previously won the 2006 Grand Prix and 2007 Welsh Open.

He led 3-0 and 5-3 but Stevens battled back to lead 7-6 before Robertson won a tight 14th frame, two more sealing it.

"I've really enjoyed coming to Bahrain and to win the first tournament here is a real privilege," said Robertson.

"Hopefully this can be the start of something to build on."

Robertson took a winner's prize of 48,000 to maintain his record of winning every ranking final he has reached.

I came out at the start of the day and played absolutely incredible
Neil Robertson
He had looked strong in the early stages of the match against his Welsh opponent, notching two centuries and a 96 in his first three frames.

"At 3-0 up I felt unbelievable, I was playing like I do in practice," Robertson reflected. "After that I was still making 50 breaks but I lost a lot of close frames; Matthew's safety was very good."

A 75 break after the interval took Robertson 4-1 clear but the Australian was then forced to sit and watch Stevens give himself a boost before the end of the first session.

The Carmarthen player hit back with 50 and 70 to make it 4-3, and later levelled matters at 5-5 with a run of 71 in the 10th frame.

Robertson then regained the lead for the second time but Stevens responded with a fine 110, his highest break of the match.

The 13th frame was drawn out, lasting 64 minutes, with Robertson desperately trying to get the snooker he required with brown, blue, pink and black left.

He could not manage it and Stevens led for the first time at 7-6.

Robertson hit back to level but had to do it with a nervy last black along the top cushion with the white ball tight on the side.

"If I'd have gone 8-6 down that would have been hard to come back from," he added. "The final black was not a nice shot and potting it felt massive. At 7-7 I fancied winning."

A 53 in the 15th frame took him to within one frame of victory, and a 56 in the next wrapped up victory.

I'm disappointed but it's been a good week to win four matches and I'm up a few places in the rankings

Matthew Stevens
"I don't know how long it took me to make that 56 in the last but it seemed like forever," he added.

Robertson's delight was in contrast to Stevens, who missed out on the second ranking title of his career and has now lost six out of seven finals, including two World Championships in Sheffield.

"I've won the Masters and two other invitation events so it's not as if I've lost them all," he noted. "But I'm gutted to lose this one.

"I was pleased at 4-3 down because it could have been a lot worse. Then I was one shot away from going 8-6 up.

"If I'd been straight on that black it would have been easy left-handed, but cutting it back into the pocket was not easy.

"I'm disappointed but it's been a good week to win four matches and I'm up a few places in the rankings. It's a good boost for me."

Frame scores: N Robertson (Aus) 9-7 M Stevens (Wal)
129-0 (129) 117-13 (117) 108-4 (96) 68-69 75-1 (75) 22-82 (50) 0-75 (70) 70-56 (63) 47-67 0-115 (71) 64-32 5-110 (110) 48-73 (52) 64-61 96-1 (53) 77-8 (56)

see also
Stevens and Robertson into final
14 Nov 08 |  Snooker
Magic Milkins sets up Hendry tie
12 Nov 08 |  Snooker
Maguire goes through in Bahrain
11 Nov 08 |  Snooker
Davis pulls out of Bahrain event
10 Nov 08 |  Snooker
Seeds crash out in Bahrain event
09 Nov 08 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
16 Sep 08 |  Snooker

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