Neil Robertson came from 3-1 down to level at 4-4 against Judd Trump in the first session of the Matchroom.Live English Open final in Milton Keynes.
This pair, two titans of the modern era, have met 20 times before, with Trump leading the head-to-head 11-9. This is their third final within a year – Robertson winning 10-9 at the Champion of Champions and Trump gaining revenge with a 9-6 success at the German Masters.
Trump is playing in his 27th ranking final and aiming for his 18th title, which would bring him level with Robertson and Mark Selby in sixth place on the all-time list. He has won his last nine consecutive ranking finals – just two short of Stephen Hendry’s record of 11.
Victory would give him his first title since he won the Gibraltar Open in March; that triumph gave him a record sixth ranking title during the 2019/20 season. Bristol’s 31-year-old Trump is looking to extend his vast lead at the top of the world rankings.
Robertson is contesting his 30th ranking final and is hoping to land his 19th title, which would put him one ahead of Selby. His most recent victory came at the World Grand Prix in February.
After sharing the first two frames, Trump took the lead with a break of 59 in the third. The fourth came down to a safety battle with two reds left, and when Trump trapped his opponent in a tricky snooker he was handed the chance to go 3-1 up.
Australia’s 38-year-old Robertson fought back after the interval with runs of 75 and 128 (his tenth century of the week) for 3-3. He made 61 in frame seven before running out of position, but Trump’s counter ended on just 11 when he missed a red to a baulk corner, and world number three Robertson went ahead for the first time.
In the last frame of the session, Trump potted a fabulous long red which allowed him to lay a difficult snooker behind the brown, and from the chance that followed he made 51 which squared the match.
They return at 7pm.
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