Robertson takes lead

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Neil Robertson, left, edged out Stuart Bingham in the opening session Neil Robertson, left, edged out Stuart Bingham in the opening session

Neil Robertson had the better of the opening session of his semi-final against Stuart Bingham in the UK Championship, taking a 5-3 lead.

Bingham, the conqueror of Ronnie O'Sullivan in the quarter-final, led twice and potted more balls and scored more points in the session.

But he would have been relieved to close the gap in the last frame before the interval, having trailed 5-2 following a surge from the world number one from Melbourne.

Bingham made the early running and could easily have led 3-1 at the mid-session interval.

A 72 break won him the opener and though Robertson responded with 70 in the next, Bingham restored his lead with an excellent 124 - a rare Ashes century by an Englishman this winter.

The turning point came, though, when after a break of 51 in frame four Bingham broke down and Robertson eventually took the frame with a good clearance of the colours.

The Australian made the best of an unpromising position in the first frame back, potting a good long black and judging his cannons well to compile a high-quality 86.

He took the next as well after Bingham could not develop a couple of half-chances, the Basildon potter never in position and managing only 14 and 11.

Robertson looked to have wrapped up frame seven after a 68 break left Bingham needing four snookers, but a free ball and some superb safety brought the world number 10 back into it.

Having done the hard work, though, he rattled a green in the jaws and Robertson staggered over the line.

That left Bingham desperately needing to win the last and he did so with a 78 break, for a scoreline which was probably a fair reflection of the opening exchanges.

Play resumes at 7pm, with nine frames the target for a place in Sunday's final.


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