by Callum Ellis
NEIL Robertson overcame Stuart Bingham to claim his second Welsh Open title with a 9-7 triumph at the Motorpoint Arena.
After falling to defeat against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final three years ago, the Australian went one better to seal a 15th ranking event victory of his career.
12th-ranked Bingham was also hoping to replicate his 2017 success as he went in search of his second Welsh Open.
Bingham went ahead in the opening frame but Robertson hit back, racking up a 71 break to take a 1-0 lead.
A frustrating second frame for Bingham saw him miss the black ball with a relatively straightforward shot. Robertson made no mistake in capitalising on the error as he swept in the ball that was left on the pocket, leaving his opposite number kicking himself.
The shot killed off the frame and sent the Australian on his way to securing a 2-0 advantage. Luck was on Bingham’s side in the third as he utilised the cushion to sink a red, before tying up the frame by sweeping in the pink.
A nervy fourth saw both players look to thwart each other but a 69 break allowed Robertson to take a 3-1 at the mid-session interval.
Robertson also took the fifth with a break of 72 following the restart, and despite a 50 break in the sixth, Bingham responded to make it 4-2.
The Englishman looked to build momentum in the seventh but it was Robertson who restored his three-frame advantage, sealing a break of 70.
It took until the eighth frame to witness the first century break of the final. Bingham chalked off 102 to gain his 11th century of the tournament, and put himself within two frames of Robertson at the end of the first session. The frame also took him within one of reaching his 400th career century.
But the tie looked to slipping away from Bingham after the restart, as breaks of 65 and 56 saw Robertson claim the opening two frames of the evening session.
‘The Thunder from Down Under’ was potentially two frames away from lifting the trophy, though Bingham had different ideas and began to claw back. He put on an impressive performance to clinch frames 11 and 12, edging the latter by just two points.
Closing the gap and with the momentum firmly on board, Bingham continued his positive form into the next frame to bring the scoreline to 7-6. Frame 14 setup a grandstand finish as Bingham drew level with a 87-9 victory.
After leading by four frames at one stage, he had done remarkably well to get himself back into the tie. However, the Australian held his nerve to see out the victory, clinching the final two frames to seal the Ray Reardon Trophy and £70,000 prize money.
(Featured image: DerHexer)