Neil Robertson lifted the first ranking title of the new season after he fought back to beat John Higgins 10-7 in what was a high quality Wuxi Classic final.
Robertson recently returned to the world no.1 spot and his victory here means he is likely to stay there for a long time,such is the lead he now enjoys over his nearest pursuer .
Here he certainly performed like a world no.1 after this one had threatened to get away from him in the first session as Higgins,playing the sort of snooker that saw him reach the final without much fuss,quickly established a 5-2 lead.
Robertson had been slightly subdued up to this point but suddenly started to find his form and won the last two of the session to be just 5-4 behind at the end of the play.
He started the evening session in the same vein and unbelievably took the first four frames to make it six in a row and lead 8-5 going into the mid session interval. Higgins safety game was unusually below par but he still managed to stop the rot in the next to close to 8-6.
The one thing we do know when we get a final between two of the games proven winners is that neither will blink with the winning line in sight and Robertson moved within one of the title,taking the next to lead 9-6.
He looked like sealing victory in the next when he established a 50 point lead,but Higgins,as he has done so often,dug deep and with the help of a wonderful positional shot from brown to blue he closed to 9-7.
Robertson again failed to make the most of an early chance on the next,but another unexpected safety error from Higgins gifted him the chance he needed and he did enough to secure the win 10-7.
For Robertson this was his second title in China in a row after he took last seasons China Open in April and though every title is to be celebrated,he will be particularly pleased here to have won beating an in form Higgins.There was a time over the last couple of seasons where it appeared as if Robertson was beginning to get bogged down in matches and this was stopping him play his natural game,but he seems to have started this season with a different approach and he is reaping the benefits of it.
As for Higgins he will be disappointed to have lost having lead by so much early on,but when you consider how badly he was playing towards the end of last season and the fact he is using a new cue he can take a lot confidence from this going into the rest of the campaign.He has looked back like his old self when in among the balls and you have to feel he will only improve further as the season goes on.I think talk of his demise can certainly be forgotten for a while.
That is it from the first full ranking tournament of the season then and I think if its a sign of things to come we are in for great season.Next up is the Australian Open which unfortunately will be missing some of the games big stars who have decided not to enter.It will though of course feature Robertson who will be desperate to make it back to back ranking titles by winning on home soil.