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Neil Robertson fends off Mark Allen fightback to reach Tour Championship Semi-Finals

Jamie Shaw in Tour Championship

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Robertson kick-starts his title defence in Llandudno

Defending champion Neil Robertson held off a spirited Mark Allen fightback to close out a 10-6 victory in the Quarter-Finals of the 2022 Tour Championship on Tuesday.

Robertson had stormed to the opening seven frames without reply, but only for Allen to hit back with six of the next seven to close the gap.

The Australian, however, scuppered any hopes of a miraculous turnaround by powering in successive century breaks to seal victory.

He will now meet either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Williams in Friday’s opening Semi-Final.

“I thought that Mark came out really determined [after the first session] and was really cautious not to leave me any kind of chances,” Robertson told ITV Sport.

“He kept things super tight and I didn’t do a lot wrong.

“If you were to write a script tonight for him to get back into the match, it was following it. He had a few flukes and didn’t make many mistakes and I couldn’t really get in to use my scoring power to my advantage.

“I’m experienced enough not to panic, you don’t really do anything differently, you just have to compliment Mark’s safety play and well done to him for getting back into it the way he did.

“The first session was brilliant and if I’m going to be super critical, it probably should have been 8-0.”

Reigning Masters Champion Robertson secured a tentative opening frame before blasting in consecutive breaks of 76, 125, 94, 103, 68 and 125 to coast into a 7-0 lead.

Allen eventually stopped the rot in frame eight before the interval and returned in the evening to clinch the opener with a break of 66.

The Antrim ace added the tenth frame before edging the next on a re-spotted black to trail 7-4.

Robertson rallied in frame 12 to move four clear again but back came Allen with successive frames, including a break of 70, to reduce the deficit to 8-6.

However, the 40-year-old closed out the match in typical fashion with back-to-back breaks of 121 and 130 – the highest of the tournament so far.

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