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Neil Robertson revival denies Ding Junhui at the Shanghai Masters

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Robertson overturned a 5-3 deficit against Ding (Photo by Richard Sellers/PA/Alamy Stock)

Neil Robertson recovered from the brink of defeat to deny Ding Junhui and book his place in the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals.

Playing just his third match of the season, the Australian looked in danger of suffering an early exit at the Shanghai Grand Stage.

Despite hitting a break of 102 on the way to establishing a 3-1 advantage, Robertson was relatively helpless as two-time champion Ding roared back with contributions of 117, 89, 87 and 59 to lead 5-3.

But the Thunder responded with runs of 41, 72 and 71 to force a decider, in which Ding gained the early advantage with 40.

However, the home favourite could not further capitalise on his opportunity, and Robertson pounced with 65 for his fourth straight victory over the Dragon.

His reward is a quarter-final showdown with Fan Zhengyi, who stunned world number three Mark Allen 6-3 earlier in the day.

Last season’s Player of the Year, the Pistol drew first blood with a magnificent break of 135, while further runs of 51 and 63 put him 3-2 to the good.

But Fan, who earlier made a 73, hit back by scoring 265 points without reply for a 5-3 lead – hitting breaks of 88 and 91 along the way – before an 84 saw the former European Masters champion over the line.

Elsewhere, Robert Milkins recovered from 4-2 down to oust Shaun Murphy in a deciding frame.

In a repeat of last season’s Welsh Open final, which Milkins won 9-7, Murphy responded to losing the first two frames by winning the next four with breaks of 62, 135 and 94.

The Milkman hit back with runs of 47 and 120 for 5-4 and, though the Magician forced a decider with 70, he held his nerve with 64 to prevail.

Next up for Milkins is a meeting with Luca Brecel, who beat Mark Williams 6-4 in a repeat of their high-quality Crucible encounter last April.

After stealing the first frame on the black, Williams countered Brecel’s earlier 52 with 74 for a 2-0 lead.

The World champion hit back with 77, 92 and 107 to turn the match on its head, though the Welshman stopped the rot with 110.

The next two frames were shared before Brecel controlled the following two to advance.


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Shanghai Masters 2023 Day Three Results

Wednesday September 13

Last 16

Mark Allen 3-6 Fan Zhengyi
Luca Brecel 6-4 Mark Williams
Neil Robertson 6-5 Ding Junhui
Shaun Murphy 5-6 Robert Milkins