Ricky Walden produced the big shock on the opening day of the German Masters with a 5-3 victory over Neil Robertson.
Robertson, fresh from his brilliant win in the Masters, was well short of his best and he paid a heavy price.
Walden’s form was not brilliant, but a number of his errors were not punished and he produced polished snooker towards the end of the contest to secure his place in the last-16 where he will meet Luca Brecel.
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Robertson looked a little rusty early on, and a surprise miss on a black to the bottom left was a sign of things to come and allowed Walden to get in front.
Walden, who is battling to cement his place in the top 16 and the entry to lucrative tournaments that guarantees, was the one to miss in the second - as Robertson stepped in to level with a break of 76.
The way Robertson took his chance in the second was a worrying sign for Walden, but the Australian surprisingly missed two good chances in the third to allow the Englishman to re-establish his lead.
The fourth was another frame littered with errors, with a missed black off the spot from Walden with the reds well spread the most alarming. Robertson did not kill off the frame in a single visit, as he continued to struggle with the pace of the table, but he fluked a snooker on the final red and it allowed him to draw level at the interval.
While there were surprising errors, Robertson’s long potting - a hallmark of his game - was pretty hot. On three occasions in the fifth frame he knocked in impressive reds. As earlier in the match, the frame was not a single kill but Walden did not take the chances he was presented with and Robertson was able to edge ahead for the first time in the match.
After Walden steadied the ship with a break of 71 to take the sixth, Robertson had the seventh frame in his grasp, but inexplicably missed a red to right middle which Joe Johnson on Eurosport commentary said was “practically unmissable.”
Walden looked as shocked as anyone as he rose from his chair, but he did not pass up the invitation as a break of 79 moved him to within one frame of victory.
Robertson attempted to pot his way out of trouble in the eighth frame, but a red wriggled before staying above ground.
Walden came to a difficult table, but was able to hold his nerve and put together a match-winning clearance of 124.
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