Snooker: Milkins delivers big shock to Robertson

Robert Milkins, left, beat Neil Robertson, right, yesterday at the Crucible.Pic: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Robert Milkins, left, beat Neil Robertson, right, yesterday at the Crucible.Pic: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
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dkdkd Former world champion Neil Robertson admitted he’d had a “bad day at the office” as he became the latest big-name casualty at this year’s World Championship.

Robertson crashed to a shock 10-8 first round defeat to qualifier Robert Milkins at the Crucible Theatre.

And with his surprise loss the 2010 world champion admitted: “It was a bad day at the office, but I’ve had worst defeats.

“It wasn’t a gutting defeat, but it’s not a great feeling getting knocked in the first round. I was playing well at 5-2 up, but I didn’t really do much wrong. It was really strange match.

“The playing conditions were really difficult, the bounce off the cushions were crazy. It made it into a tactical safety duel and he played better than me during the match. But he put me in a lot of trouble and that put me my rhythm. I hardly won any of the scrappy frames.”

Aussie ace Robertson returned with a 5-4 lead having at one stage led 5-2, but found himself 7-6 down after a scrappy opening four frames of the concluding session. And Milkins held his nerve to clinch a 10-8 victory, the biggest win of his professional career, to book his last 16 place.

“He [Milkins] was labeled as a bit of a lunatic around the tour, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” admitted Robertson.

“I wasn’t probably expecting him to play so well with his safety play. Maybe I should have a different game plan. But you can’t take anything away from him because he played fantastic.”

A delighted Milkins beamed: “It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m ecstatic. I’m chuffed to bits. By far that’s the biggest win of my career. Neil is such a tough player to beat.

“It was hard work to be honest, so to win was quite a relief to be honest.

“I’m just happy with life. I’ve got two great kids, a great missus, a great coach and a great manager. I don’t need anything else in life.

“I was £30,000 in debt, going to the pub every day and I was just going down in the gutter a few years ago, so to be here now is just amazing.

* Results: Robert Milkins beat Neil Robertson 10-8; Stuart Bingham beat Sam Baird 10-2.

* Latest scores: Shaun Murphy leads Graeme Dott 6-2; Michael White leads Dechawat Poomjaeng 7-1.

* Today’s second round matches: 10am - Murphy v Dott, Mark Selby v Barry Hawkins – max 8 frames; 2.30pm – Judd Trump v Marco Fu, White v Poomjaeng – max 8 frames; 7pm – Murphy v Dott – to finish, Hawkins v Selby – max 8 frames.

Murphy on form

Shaun Murphy made an impressive start to his last 16 clash with Graeme Dott at the Crucible yesterday.

Former Rotherham potter Murphy, the 2005 world champion, returns today with a healthy 6-2 lead over Glaswegian Dott.

And the world No 4 will look to extend his lead in the second session of his best-of-25 frame duel, which is due to be played to a finish tonight with a third and final session.

Murphy won a scrappy opening frame to lead, but Dott hit back –

courtesy of a fluke to get in – with a break of 77 to level. But Murphy responded with back-to-back centuries – 128 and 112 – to establish a 3-1 interval lead.

And it got even better for Murphy after the resumption even though Dott won a scrappy frame to reduce his arrears to 3-2.

A break of 54 from the player who won the world title as an initial 150-1 outsider helped the cause, before a run of 99 also did the trick as Murphy established a four-frame cushion.