Neil Robertson cruised Kishan Hirani in the first round of the English Open

Champion of Champions day one results and report: Neil Robertson wins Group 4 after beating Shaun Murphy

Neil Robertson battled back to book a place in the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions. Read our review of day one in Coventry.

Robertson battles back to win

Neil Robertson battled back from 3-0, 4-3 and 5-4 down to beat Shaun Murphy 6-5 and book a place in the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions.

Murphy had either led or been level after each of the first 17 frames he played on Monday, but having edged past Reanne Evans 4-3 his luck ran out as he lost the vital 18th frame shortly after 11pm.

He'll be frustrated at having twice let a 3-0 lead slip, first against Evans before a calm century helped evade disaster, and then against Robertson, who made him pay for his profligacy.

Robertson, who had beaten Martin Gould 4-0 at lunchtime, looked in big trouble when losing the first three frames of the Group 4 decider as he voiced his frustration at the state of the table.

But breaks of 95, 90 and 100 brought him level and confirmed that Murphy would be made to scrap were he to survive a gruelling day.

Murphy again edged ahead at 4-3, only for a 53 break from Robertson to square things up, and it was another 53 from the Australian which ensured that the match would go the distance.

The final frame was scrappy, Robertson unable to make a winning contribution after a brilliant opening red, but still able to dictate matters as Murphy clung on to what was left of his title ambitions.

Robertson had established a 43-point lead as the pair settled into a safety duel, only to go in-off when attempting to find a safe passage back up the table.

That left Murphy with his hand on the table and a chance at a long red, but he was unable to capitalise and in missing left Robertson with a golden opportunity, one he spurned with a shocking missed black to the middle pocket.

Murphy was then in himself, but as the pressure intensified he too was now losing control of the cue ball and that meant another chance for Robertson, one he finally took with a nerveless, rest-assisted red to end an epic first day.

Murphy taken the distance

Reanne Evans came within a frame of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in snooker history, eventually losing 4-3 to Shaun Murphy.

It looked set to be a regulation win for the former world champion as he raced into a 3-0 lead, but Evans fought back in extraordinary fashion to force a decider.

A poor safety in the final frame opened the door for Murphy, and to his credit he strode through with a fluent century to book a clash with Neil Robertson later this evening.

It was hard on Evans, who had been matched at 1000 on the exchanges when trailing 3-0 only to force her way to within a frame of perhaps the biggest result of her career.

In the end it took a brilliant 130 break from Murphy to avoid a shock exit, as the audience rose to their feet to salute both a surgically constructed, match-winning break, and a magnificent fightback from Evans.

"It's a funny world we live in. This woman here, she's a 12-time champion of the world completely disregarded by the general British sporting public at large," Murphy told ITV4.

"People are throwing MBEs and awards out at people left, right and centre - she's got 12 world titles to her name and nothing after her name. It's a disgrace.

"There were so many different dynamics going on in that match and credit to Reanne, she dug in, never gave in, as a 12-time world champion would, by the way.

"But for the chance I got in the last, I could very easily have lost that.

"You're playing in a crowd where everyone wants you to lose. Even my wife was reluctant to wish me good luck today - she did, but through gritted teeth.

"All of that aside, it was a tough game of snooker, she didn't disgrace herself at all and I really hope we see more on the main tour events."

Evans hopes her performance has inspired more women to play the sport.

"They've seen me out there, I've actually competed at the end, and hopefully they can see themselves in my shoes in a few years' time," she said in an interview posted on the Champion of Champions Twitter page.

Robertson eases past Gould

Neil Robertson barely had to break sweat as he whitewashed Martin Gould 4-0 in their Group Four clash that proved something of a disappointment.

Both players were a long way from their best but Robertson was in control from the moment his raced into a 2-0, a break of 62 enough for him to take the opening frame before he added a run of a 67 in frame two with the help of a fabulous doubled red potted with the rest.

A scrappy frame three was another in which Gould had plenty of chances but when he missed a tricky red to the green pocket, Robertson stepped in with cool clearance that featured a number of fine pots, not least the final black which required a thin cut but was stroked right into the heart of the pocket to steal the frame.

Gould was again in ascendancy in frame four but more unforced errors opened the door for Robertson to counter and in almost identical fashion to the previous frame, the Australian closed out the match in typically ruthless fashion.

Monday schedule

Afternoon session (1300 GMT)
Group 4 semi-finals - best of seven

  • Neil Robertson 4-0 Martin Gould
  • Shaun Murphy 4-3 Reanne Evans

Evening session
Group 4 final - best of 11

  • Neil Robertson 6-5 Shaun Murphy

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