The UK Championship kicked off in style, under a beautiful snooker weather in New York, an improvement on the stormy weather which had prevailed for the most part of the day.
The first set of headline acts to take to the table were Stuart Bingham and Neil Robertson who do not necessarily need the favourite tag to gun for the ultimate crown.
Two-time UK championship winner, Neil Robertson welcomed Alex Borg to the table in the opening game. Malta’s Alex Borg willing to do away with the underdog tag looked to take the first frame, but couldn’t quite make the cut. With the look of things, you get the feeling that whoever wins the first frame takes the game and it was exactly so.
In only a manner of minutes, the Champion of Champion winner, Robertson took out his relatively inexperienced opponent with consecutive breaks of 81 to put him 3-0 up in round one.
Robertson started round two where he had left off, whitewashing Alex Borg by a 6-0 scoreline. It was an incredible win that saw Robertson make a break of 104 along the way.
Elsewhere, Ali Carter who prides in being a pilot ensured safe passage to round two. The 2009 and 2013 finalist’s progress to the next round was sealed with a 6-0 thumping win over 2018/19 Challenge tour winner, Brandon Sargeant. He dealt that devastating blow with breaks of 100 and 71 in that period.
Alexander Ursenbacher made the headlines and it was for the very wrong reasons. The Swiss who was a quarter-finalist in last week’s Northern Ireland Open failed to get past Zhao Xintong. The Swiss suffered a first round thrilling defeat to Zhao Xintong who would instead be the one to make way to round two of the UK championship. The scoreline quite justified what went on during the game. Xintong, 22 was incredible throughout the game proceedings, recording a break of 128 to snatch an all-important victory.
Sam Craigie can now empty his brains of whatsoever thoughts of lifting the UK Championship crown had filled the night before as he fell to 6-4 defeat by Tian Pengfei.
Written by: Roland Arum