Neil Robertson scoops second Welsh Open title

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Robertson lifts the Ray Reardon trophy (credit:BBC Sport)

Neil Robertson ended a 12-year wait for a second Welsh Open title with a 9-7 victory over Stuart Bingham in the final in Cardiff on Sunday.

The 37-year-old doubled his ranking title tally for the season by withstanding a spirited Bingham fightback in a hard-fought encounter.

Robertson had established a 5-3 lead at the end of the first session and pulled away to 7-3, only for Bingham to reel off four in a row and level the match.

The Australian, however, dug deep to stop the rot and regain the lead before rounding off victory with a break of 83.

“I felt like we both didn’t play as well as what we had done to get to the final,” Robertson told BBC Wales.

“I think that Stuart was the better player because he created all the openings, especially in the first session, if he didn’t miss a couple of easy balls he probably would have had the 5-3 lead.

“I just had to try and hang in, the safety he was playing was incredible.

“When the opportunity came I had to go for it and I can’t believe the way I won because I had a chance to go 8-4 and it would have been heartbreaking to lose from that position.

“To make a 147 and win an event, it doesn’t happen very often – it’s an amazing experience.”

Robertson began the week with a stunning 147 break in his First Round win and opened up the final with a break of 71.

The next two frames were shared before Robertson produced successive breaks of 69 and 72 to open up a 4-1 advantage.

Bingham replied with a half century in frame six, and after Robertson made a 70 in the next, 2017 Welsh Open champion Bingham hit back with a clinical 102 in the final frame of the afternoon session.

It was Robertson who came out firing after the restart with breaks of 65 and 56 to pull clear at 7-3 but only for Bingham to dig deep and clinch four consecutive frames despite no sizable breaks.

Robertson, however, denied his opponent the chance to take the lead by securing frame 15 and putting the gloss on victory with a break of 83 in the next.

“It wasn’t the classic that everyone built it up to be, we both struggled,” admitted Bingham.

“I’m gutted, I didn’t turn up today but that’s the way it goes – that’s sport.

“Neil said I was the better player, but he won, so fair play to him.”

The triumph marks Robertson’s 15th career ranking title and follows on from his Riga Masters success last July.