Local hero Robertson wins Goldfields opener
Round-up: Neil Robertson got off to an emphatic start in his home event with a powerful 5-1 victory over Nigel Bond in the Australian Goldfields Open first round.
The 2010 Crucible champion stormed to knocks of 135, 81, 92 and 113 to go 4-0 up heading into the mid-session break with the 1995 Crucible finalist potting just the solitary red in the meantime.
The veteran was able to grind his way to taking the fifth frame, forcing a host of errors out of Robertson, but the Australian cleared frame six with a 93 break to move onto the second round.
Robertson will now take on the winner of Mark Davis' match with Jack Lisowski for a place in the quarter-final. The pair meet on Tuesday.
The tournament is not only a chance for a popular local victory, but with Judd Trump, Mark Williams and John Higgins all absent from the tournament, world number five Robertson could overtake the trio in the rankings with Goldfields success.
Robertson said following the win: "That's the sort of snooker I was hoping to play.
"It showed that I've had a week extra rest and that was the hope. I didn't want to drop a frame in case Nigel kept hanging on and I got tired, but I'm really happy with the result"
"I've worked hard on my big breaks and century building, I hoped to build even more today, but I hope I can entertain the crowds in the coming days with more."
Elsewhere in first round action, Stephen Lee had to fight back after dropping the first three frames against Rory McLeod to secure a final frame victory 5-4.
McLeod was atypically dynamic in his break building to surge ahead, hitting a 106 in the third before Lee settled into the game and claimed four in a row, with a 105 in the process.
And though McLeod forced the decider with a 72 break in frame eight, Lee clocked a half-ton before grinding his way out of reach for good.
Lee will meet Jamie Cope in the last 16 after he produced runs of 93 and 73 in the final two frames to defeat Wuxi Classic winner Ricky Walden 5-4 later in the day.
Cope had also previously recorded a three-figure break of 103 to level the contest after six, and produced two fine single-visit performances to progress when it appeared that he was on the verge of a quick exit.
Ryan Day meanwhile defeated Andrew Higginson on the final black of the final frame in a see-saw 5-4 victory.
The two traded a one-frame lead throughout the contest until the Welshman came back from 59-0 down in the ninth to bring the match down to the last seven points, sinking the black at the second attempt to advance.
He will now play either Matthew Selt or defending champion Stuart Bingham in the next round.
Day’s compatriot Matthew Stevens also progressed, notching a 128 break on his way to a 5-3 win over Liang Wenbo. Next up for the World Championship semi-finalist will be either Barry Hawkins or Xiao Guodong.
Dominic Dale, on the other hand, fell to Tom Ford 5-2 despite being elevated to seeded status due to the absence of several top-ranking players. The Midlander marches on to meet the winner of Shaun Murphy's clash with Marcus Campbell.
The opening day’s session began with two wild card qualifiers, which saw Alan McManus whitewash local player James Mifsud 5-0 to set up a last-32 tie with Ding Junhui.
Cao Yupeng was the other wild card success, seeing off another Australian in Johl Younger 5-2 to move on to play Ali Carter in the first round proper.