The European Masters qualifiers gets underway soon, and there are a number of mouth-watering fixtures, fans of the sport can’t wait to have their eyes feasted on. One of such is that between Neil Robertson and Nigel Bond.
Robertson, a former world number one will welcome a challenge from his vastly experienced English opponent who has six non-ranking titles and a ranking title to his name.
The Thunder from Down under is the favourite to come out tops in what many expect to be a relatively difficult game for Robertson. However, the world number four who is only one of thirteen players to win both the world and UK titles, and one of eleven to win the
Triple Crown of World Championship, UK Championship and Masters has proven himself times without number to be capable of going far in events of this calibre.
The 37-year-old who is widely considered to be the greatest Austrian to have ever graced the game has completed more than 650-century breaks and would by no means consider Bond a tough nut to crack.
Elsewhere, Yan Bingtao will lock horns with Sam Baird. Bingtao, 19, though still, a teenager has shown he’s got what it takes to complete with the most decorated players.
The Chinese became the first teenager in 13 years to win a ranking title when he did so at the Kaspersky Riga Masters in July 2019. He’s also the first Chinese winner of a ranking title since Ding landed the Yushan World Open in 2017. The kid has been hugely incredible and has been widely considered as the best player from Asia after Ding Junhui.
Bingtao, a teenager admired by the veteran player, Ronnie O’Sullivan at age 17 came close to eclipsing the Rocket’s long-standing record as the youngest ever winner of a ranking title but lost 9-8 to Mark Williams in the Northern Ireland Open final.
On the other hand, his opponent, currently ranked world number 75, hasn’t played top-notch snooker in recent times. He won only his first match at the UK Championship by eliminating Sean O’Sullivan 6–2 before losing by a reversal of this scoreline to Mitchell Mann.
Written by: Roland Arum