'I'm getting stronger as the tournament goes on,' says Robertson

Former world champion Neil Robertson is confident he can beat anyone on the planet if he finds his best form.
Former world champion Neil Robertson is confident he can beat anyone on the planet if he finds his best form.

Former world champion Neil Robertson believes he is slowly rediscovering his best form after securing his place in the last 16 of the Betway UK Championship.

The 37-year-old had admitted after his second-round tie that he was struggling to focus during his matches in the early stages of the first Triple Crown event of the season.

But he held his nerve to dispatch former ranking event winner and seasoned veteran Mark King 6-4 in round three.

Having notched a ton and four half-centuries on his way to victory – during an afternoon session that saw 54-year-old Nigel Bond knock out reigning world champion Judd Trump – Robertson insisted he is gradually feeling stronger as the tournament progresses.

“There’s definitely more to come but overall I felt great. I think it’s important to time your peak form at the right time,” said the Australian.

“You don’t want to be blitzing through and then taper away at the end. You want to save your best until last – if possible – and so far I seem to be making minor improvements as I go along.

“It was always going to be a battle against Mark. He’s such a great safety player and he always makes it really tough, so patience was the key.

“You can see all the other tables when you’re playing in the arena and the crowd were really getting pumped up because of what was going on near to me.

“That meant it was quite difficult to maintain the focus, but that’s just something you’ve got to deal with and I was really happy to see Nigel go on and do so well.”

Trump is the latest of a string of big names to have headed for the exit door at the York Barbican, following the likes of David Gilbert, Shaun Murphy and Mark Williams to have been knocked out in the early stages.

But despite the absence of many of his main competitors as the competition heads towards its latter stages, Robertson insisted there is still a long way to go and that he will remain focused on his own game.

“Judd going out is a big shock but it doesn’t affect me too much because I’m in the other half of the draw,” added Robertson, who plays either Jack Lisowski or Yan Bingtao in the last 32.

“I suppose it’s nice of him to let somebody else win something for a change!

“I don’t concentrate on who I’m playing next. I just play my own game and I know if I play well I’ll beat anyone.

“There’s no point looking at who you might play because draws change all the time and anyone on the tour will give you a good game.”

Watch the UK Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White.

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