Robertson beats Carter to make final

Eurosport - Sat, 01 May 14:44:00 2010

Neil Robertson became first Australian to reach the World Championship final since Eddie Charlton in 1975 following a 17-12 victory over Ali Carter at the Crucible.

Neil Robertson celebrates making the World Championship final - 0

FOURTH SESSION

Having been so dominant in Friday night's third session, the Australian only required two frames to secure his place in Sunday's final, but it was Englishman Carter who won the first two of the final session.

Robertson recovered to claim the third but could not complete the formalities before the interval, as the Englishman claimed a fraught final frame before the break.

However, the Australian did not have to wait too long to confirm his place in tomorrow's final, as he won the first frame immediately after the interval to meet either Mark Selby or Graeme Dott tomorrow afternoon.

The first frame of the final session hinged on a difficult red tucked up on the cushion. And when Robertson failed to develop it whilst attempting to claw back a 64 point deficit, it looked as though Carter was certain to win the first frame.

But some wayward safety play from the Englishman - including a bizarre incident where he feathered the white ball - almost allowed Robertson to steal the first frame of the session but Carter managed to close it out 88-44.

Following a fraught opening frame, Carter breezed through the next 109-4, which included a session high break of 71.

The third frame of the session did much to decide the outcome of the match. Locked at 44-42 in favour of the Englishman, Carter fluked a red, but, with his positional play letting him down, he couldn't capitalise to close it out. And following a safety exchange, the Australian dispatched the yellow and cleared to the pink to put himself within touching distance of the final.

But Carter took a scrappy fourth frame of the session 69-37 to ensure the match went beyond the interval. Having made a quickfire break of 50, the 2008 finalist missed a rudimentary blue to the middle pocket but the Australian could not take advantage and Carter closed out the frame.

The first frame after the interval almost had to be re-racked but Robertson took his opportunity to build a break of 40 after some loose safety play from Carter. Having failed to adequately split the reds though, it looked like Carter may take the opportunity to build a match saving break but he could only muster four.

Following another safety exchange, Robertson returned to the table to record a 75-4 victory and move into Sunday's final.

THIRD SESSION

Robertson was the stronger player in the evening's third session with the more consistent potting and break-building as Carter endured some woeful bad luck and the Australian is now just two frames away from the final.

It was a nervy start to the evening's play from both players as the tension affected every aspect of the players' game. The situation was not helped by the balls running awkwardly at the re-start but it was Carter who took a 37-minute frame on the colours to close the gap to 10-7.

Robertson was soon into his stride in the next though and breaks of 48 and 43 re-established his four-frame advantage.

Worse was to follow for a luckless Carter as a brave attempt down the side cushion stayed in the jaws of the pocket. From that easy starter, Robertson played a dreadful positional shot well short of pace, but on closer inspection luckily found the narrowest of gaps through the cluster of reds to a simple black. That led to a 116 clearance from the Australian as a crestfallen Carter left the arena to let off some steam.

That seemed to have little effect, however, and a wild hit-and-hope snooker escape from a frustrated Carter in the next, allowed Robertson in for a frame-winning 78 to lead 13-7 at the mid-session interval.

The rub of the green continued in Robertson's favour after the break with some fortuitous positional play but the world number nine potted brilliantly in making runs of 38 and 51 to rub salt into Carter's wounds.

Carter, the world number five, managed to stop the rot in taking the next with a 41 - his first break over 30 of the evening - and pulled back another with a 55 to make it 14-9.

Carter should have taken a morale-boosting final frame of the session but a mis-cued on the yellow with just the colours remaining. More cruel luck followed for the Englishman though, as he went in-off on potting the green and Robertson punched the air in sinking the pink, knowing the importance of that frame.

SECOND SESSION

Neil Robertson began and ended an exacting morning session at the Crucible with century breaks in establishing a 10-6 lead over Ali Carter in their World Championship semi-final.

The Australian player looked as if he was going to encounter little resistance from England's Carter after quickly extending his 6-2 overnight lead to 8-2.

A break of 140 saw Robertson move 7-2 ahead and he picked up the next frame by potting a respotted black after Carter's attempted fine cut from distance narrowly failed to drop.

Carter, nicknamed The Captain, was soon in charge of his own destiny as he conjured up the battling qualities that carried him to the final of this tournament two years ago. He lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-8 on that occasion. A similar scoreline seemed likely, but Carter showed some true grit.

He made it 8-3 before a break of 76 saw the players head to the mid-session interval with Robertson holding an 8-4 lead.

Carter continued to recover ground by winning the next two frames with some ease, a break of 81, his highest of the match, helping him close to 8-6.

Robertson, bidding to become the first world champion from outside the British Isles since Canada's Cliff Thorburn in 1980, looked slightly ruffled, but Carter could not punish him in frame 15.

A 59 clearance helped the Grand Prix champion move 9-6 clear and "The Thunder from Down Under" protected his four-frame advantage by collecting the final frame of the morning with a break of 104, his third century of the match.

FIRST SESSION

Neil Robertson made a blistering start to the first World Championship semi-final, taking the opening five frames from a desperately out of sorts Ali Carter, and ending the opening session with a 6-2 lead.

Carter barely got going in a nightmarish session, clearing showing the strain of his nerve-jangling late-night quarter-final victory over Shaun Murphy the previous evening.

A nervy start from both players saw some uneasy potting attempts and slack misses in the opening exchanges.

Robertson himself was guilty of an atrocious error, looking to play a plant and instead firing the white over both reds and straight into the pocket.

The Australian soon got going, however, powering some trademark long shots to put the first frame out of reach for Carter, who failed to find any rhythm in his brief spells at the table.

The second frame saw a return to Robertson's blistering quarter-final form, hitting a fabulous break of 124 to pile the pressure on Carter, now two frames down.

Tiptree-based Carter looked to have responded well in the third frame, putting 60 points on the board and leaving Robertson needing snooker to snatch the frame back.

With the balls well placed for snookers, the Australian came up with three consecutive snookers, combined with some more superb potting to steal the frame out from under Carter's nose.

Breaks of 91 and 76 either side of the mid-session interval moved Robertson to a commanding 5-0 lead, and put him in total control of the session.

Carter finally got himself off the mark in a tight sixth frame, taking advantage of some rare loose shots from Robertson to get a morale-boosting frame and a foothold in the session.

The reprieve proved short-lived, though, as Robertson snapped up the penultimate frame of the session to take a 6-1 lead, leaving Carter desperately needing the final frame to prevent Robertson holding an imposing seven-frame overnight advantage.

'Captain' Carter made the perfect response at the death, deservedly taking the final frame with a 69 break, his highest of the match.

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Marcus Foley / Geraint Williams / Eurosport

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