UK Championship review: Neil Robertson claims routine victory while John Higgins, Ali Carter and James Cahill all progress

Neil Robertson
Neil Robertson

A review of the action on day one of the UK Championship, where Neil Robertson made a flying start to his title bid and Ali Carter and James Cahill also progressed.

Robertson up and running

Neil Robertson kicked off his bid for a third UK Championship success with a 6-0 whitewash of Alex Borg.

The recent Champion of Champions winner, who lifted this trophy in 2013 and 2015, was in an unforgiving mood as he turned in a ruthless display to book his place in the second round.

The Australian actually had to fight reasonably hard to win the first frame but it was one-way traffic thereafter, two breaks of 81 and further runs of 107 and 51 suggesting he will be a force to be reckoned with in York once again.

Carter enjoys early cruise

Ali Carter enjoyed a carefree afternoon as he cruised past rookie Brandon Sargeant 6-0 thanks to breaks of 53, 100 and 71.

Carter later admitted the chance to clinch a spot at the 2020 Masters has given him extra motivation in York.

“I’d love to get to the Masters,” the world number 17 said. “I’m in a situation now where my son’s old enough to come and watch me play, so that’s an added incentive to take him along.

“The first round here was massive because if I’d lost it was a done deal and I was out. I’m still in the hunt after a good win, so happy days.

“I played pretty solidly there. It’s always a bit tough going on first - the table’s really quick and really reactive."

Giant killer Cahill claims another scalp

James Cahill's legend as a giant killer continues to grow after he produced the most notable result of day one, defeating English Open finalist David Gilbert 6-4.

Cahill shot to prominence when beating Mark Selby at this very event last year before causing one of the biggest shocks in Crucible history when getting the better of Ronnie O'Sullivan at the World Championship in Sheffield.

With another big name in his sights, Cahill left behind a quiet start to the season with another classy performance that ensured Gilbert was always swimming against the tide.

Breaks of 81 and 130 got Cahill off to the perfect start and although Gilbert responded with contributions of 82 and 106 to claim the next three frames in a high-class start the match, it was his younger opponent who then seized control of the contest.

Cahill won the next two frames with the help of a break of 84 in frame six to regain the lead and despite Gilbert firing straight back with his second century of the night in frame eight, Cahill wouldn't relent and he sealed another famous victory by controlling frames nine and ten.

Bingham battles through

Stuart Bingham is another big name safely into the second round but he had to work hard to see off Lei Peifan 6-4.

Bingham was a long way from his best all day and was thankful for a break of 62 that allowed him to pinch a crucial ninth frame and inch into a 5-4 lead having earlier seen Peifan claw back to parity from 4-2 down.

Nevertheless, Bingham finished the stronger and dominated frame 10 to close out the match.

Former champions back in town

Former champions John Higgins and Matthew Stevens had little trouble in progressing to the second round, both completing whitewashes with the minimum of fuss.

Higgins reeled off breaks off 78, 55, 52 and 54 in his 6-0 rout of Peter Lines while Stevens proved much too strong for Chen Feilong, the 2003 winner racing into a 2-0 lead thanks to runs of 83 and 67 and continuing to dominate thereafter.


  • Watch the World Championship LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds

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