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Page last updated at 22:42 GMT, Sunday, 11 October 2009 23:42 UK

Rampant Robertson sees off Ding

Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson

Video - Robertson wraps up final win - UK users only

By Mark Ashenden

Australian Neil Robertson clinched the Grand Prix trophy in Glasgow with a 9-4 win over China's Ding Junhui.

His fourth title makes Robertson the most successful player from outside the British Isles in ranking tournaments.

In an initially tight battle, he was 2-0 up after a 124 in the opener, then Ding led 3-2 with knocks of 80 and 112.

Robertson levelled with 108 in the sixth and at 4-4 took an epic 58-minute ninth to edge ahead, before winning five straight frames as Ding wobbled.

The 2006 Grand Prix champion's three previous final successes all came against men who were outside the top 16 at the time.

After sealing his fourth title and rising to three in the provisional rankings, Robertson told BBC Sport: "It's incredible. The way I played in the semi (against John Higgins) was probably the first time I have produced the top level on TV before.

"It was always going to be tough sustaining that in the final. I started well and tried to make it tough. I thought my experience and potting could outlast Ding if I could keep him away from the table long enough."

Snooker history was assured whichever victor emerged in front of a packed Kelvin Hall, with Sunday's clash the first ranking final between two overseas players since 1985 when South African Silvino Francisco beat Canadian Kirk Stevens to win the British Open.

It was only the second ranking final in 220 tournaments that involved two overseas players.

But Robertson, who has yet to win a world title, scoffed at suggestions he could now be considered the game's most successful player from outside Britain and Ireland.

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"I don't know about best ever just yet," said the Melbourne-born potter.

"In my previous three finals, although they were great players as well, some criticism I could have come under was maybe I didn't beat a world-class player.

"But I think with Ding, I definitely beat a world-class player - a three-time ranking event winner."

Canadian Cliff Thorburn won the world championship in 1980, while Ireland's Ken Doherty was the last non-Briton to claim snooker's biggest prize, winning 12 years ago.

Robertson looked in determined and vibrant form from the off, having to refocus after his dramatic final-frame victory on Saturday against 2008 Grand Prix champion John Higgins.

A smooth 124 break in the opening frame and some steady safety play in the second handed the 'Thunder from Down Under' a two-frame lead, but China's top cueman came roaring back with three in a row.

World number 13 Ding has made a habit of overcoming adversity in the 2009 Grand Prix - beating Matthew Stevens 5-4 after trailing 2-4 and seeing off Peter Ebdon having lost the first two frames.

He recovered a 38-point deficit in the third to clear up after a stunning green into the middle, an 80 break levelled the match and a knock of 112 edged the 22-year-old into a 3-2 lead.

Robertson stopped the rot with a fluid 108 - his 100th century break in all tournaments - to make it 3-3 and he ensured a one-frame advantage at the interval with a 43 break.

The see-saw encounter continued immediately at the start of the evening session with Ding levelling at 4-4, despite missing an easy yellow after 48 hard-earned points.

Following eight free-flowing frames, the ninth was 58 minutes of nerve-jangling drama.

Graphic

Snooker Grand Prix's Top 25 moments

Ding got back into the frame brilliantly after needing a snooker but eventually lost out to his blonde-haired opponent who pumped his fist like a man who knew he had won a crucial battle.

It was a devastating blow for the Chinese star, who had worked so hard to get back into the match, and he began to stutter badly with a number of errors and shot selections much more defensive than in earlier encounters.

And with a despondent Ding remaining in his chair - now being used for longer periods - Robertson eased to the next two frames to go into the mid-session interval in buoyant mood with a 7-4 lead.

The final session kicked off in comedic fashion with referee Jan Verhaas placing the green and brown on the wrong spots but few smiles followed in a nervy 12th frame.

With pressure mounting, Ding missed an easy red when trailing 34-21 and Robertson pounced to sweep within one frame of victory.

Ding continued to miss opportunities to get back in the match but Robertson stayed calm to secure his fourth title, adding to his Grand Prix three years ago, the 2007 Welsh Open and 2008 Bahrain Championship.



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see also
Grand Prix schedule and results
04 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Robertson and Ding set for final
10 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Ding puts Ebdon out of Grand Prix
09 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Williams halts Hendry challenge
08 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Higgins squeezes out O'Sullivan
07 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Hendry not ruling out world title
06 Oct 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan secures Grand Prix win
06 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Pinches defeats Murphy in Glasgow
05 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Milkins ends Carter celebrations
04 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Higgins eases past rookie Joyce
03 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Baby boy frees Carter for Glasgow
02 Oct 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan questions Higgins haul
30 Sep 09 |  Snooker


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