Neil Robertson is hoping to ignite interest in snooker in his home country after he became Australia's first World Championship finalist in 35 years with a victory over Ali Carter yesterday. The 28-year-old from Melbourne sealed a 17-12 semi-final win over the 2008 runner-up to reach the title match, which begins today and concludes tomorrow.
"I don't think this is my best achievement. I think winning a ranking title is still better," he said. "But in terms of a really proud moment, during a World Championship you're representing your country a little more. "I've been told there was a possibility of them showing the final live on television back home in Australia. I can't think of that happening before." Robertson carried a 15-9 lead into the final session, so would have had to implode to give Carter even a sniff of victory.
He showed some early nerves and lost three of the first four frames, but his lead was so substantial there was no danger of it disappearing. Carter made an opening break of 64 before missing a black, leaving enough points on the table for Robertson to pinch the frame. The Melbourne man reached 36 before running out of position on the final red and a safety battle followed, the players exchanging points-earning snookers before Carter finally put the frame away.
There was still no great cause for concern from Robertson's point of view when Carter reduced his lead to 15-11 with a break of 71. At 44-42 ahead in the next frame, Carter got what was probably the fluke of the tournament to get off the mark, when - after missing a red to a top corner pocket - the ball travelled up the table, off baulk and side cushions before meeting the white again and bouncing into the right centre pocket.
But Robertson was soon back in the frame, and the Australian snapped up the chance when Carter swerved past the black to hit yellow but left it. He cleared from yellow to pink, and that meant Carter had to win all six remaining frames. * Agencies