On fire Neil Robertson put out by Pang Junxu in European Masters classic

February 24, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

2020 Coral World Grand Prix - Day 7
Neil Robertson suffered a shock loss in a brilliant match at the European Masters (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)

Neil Robertson may be the form player on the planet at the moment, but youngster Pang Junxu had too much for him in a 5-4 win for the Chinese in a European Masters classic.

It was a contest of the highest quality, which was no surprise after Robertson made four consecutive centuries and came close to adding another in his 5-0 win over Alfie Burden in the previous round.

Pang had squeezed past Xu Si in the last 64 so the Australian was the runaway favourite for this one, especially when he opened the match with a break of 91.

However, Pang stuck in there and remained in touch throughout, going into the interval at 2-2, despite Robertson making another ton with a 104 in the third.

The Thunder from Down Under made 100 to go 3-2 ahead and when he won the next despite a half-century from Pang, things looked fatal for the 22-year-old.

The Sheffield-based star showed his immense talent and promise by reeling off the next three frames, though, with breaks of 73, 101 and 90 to claim a famous victory in a deciding frame.

Robertson showed his immense class by staying in the arena with Pang for a few moments and sharing some words with his conqueror after a fabulous performance.

Neil Robertson and Pang Junxu
Robertson congratulated Pang after the memorable match (Picture: Eurosport)

Neil Robertson and Pang Junxu
The Masters champion stuck around to share some words with the 22-year-old (Picture: Eurosport)

Pang was last season’s Rookie of the Year after a number of impressive performances, including wins over Stephen Maguire, Noppon Saengkham and Tom Ford at the UK Championship and beating Barry Hawkins in the European Masters last campaign, before losing to Robertson in the last 16.

He has had a quieter season this time round, although this may be the finest victory of his career to date given the immense form Robertson has been in this year, winning the Masters and Players Championship in recent weeks.

Robertson follows the likes of Judd Trump, John Higgins and Kyren Wilson out of the competition after they all lost on Wednesday in Milton Keynes.

Mark Selby has also fallen this week, meaning Ronnie O’Sullivan is the only top 10 player left in the event ahead of the last 16 stage.

Pang will take on David Gilbert in the fourth round after the Angry Farmer downed Barry Hawkins on Thursday morning.

European Masters last 16 draw

Thursday 24 February

14:30 Jordan Brown v Graeme Dott
14:30 Sunny Akani v Ryan Day
14:30 Fan Zhengyi v Yan Bingtao
14:30 Ronnie O’Sullivan v Ashley Hugill
19:00 David Gilbert v Pang Junxu
19:00 Fraser Patrick v Tom Ford
19:00 Liang Wenbo v Yuan SiJun
19:00 Anthony McGill v Kurt Maflin

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