Snooker - Robertson hits four centuries to reach UK last 16

Neil Robertson was at his imperious best as he made four centuries in seven frames to overwhelm Tom Ford 6-1 in the UK Championship first round.

The Melbourne player is bidding to join a select band of players to win the world, UK and Masters titles by claiming the trophy at York's Barbican Centre on Sunday evening.

He would become only the eighth man to win the game's three biggest titles if he emerges victorious this weekend.

Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Alex Higgins and Terry Griffiths are the other men to achieve the feat. Only Hendry, Davis and Williams have held all three of snooker's unofficial 'Triple Crown' in the same season.

With Judd Trump out having lost 6-5 to Mark Joyce yesterday, Robertson is among the favourites to carry off the trophy. He showed why as runs of 129, 112, 74, 100 and 127 were too much for Ford, who appeared to realise his fate when he failed to see out the second frame after running in 57.

World number six Robertson mopped up the four remaining colours to move 2-0 clear and was never subjected to any real pressure from that point onwards.

Robertson looked set to make his fourth century in winning 6-0, but missed an easy red on 45 as Ford prevented the whitewash with a gutsy 58.

Robertson's best run at the sport's second biggest ranking tournament behind the World Championship came when he lost 9-7 in the semi-finals to last year's winner Trump.

Robertson will face Barry Hawkins for a place in the quarter-finals.

Matthew Stevens also enjoyed a comfortable afternoon in completing a 6-1 win over an unwell Dominic Dale. He dropped the first frame to Dale, who was as notable for a rash on his face as his ability on the table.

It became evident that Dale was not feeling in peak condition as his fellow Welshman claimed the next six frames to secure a meeting with Marco Fu in the last 16.

The first round continues later on Monday evening with Mark Williams meeting Mark King and Ricky Walden facing Luca Brecel at 7pm (GMT).