Robertson seals Wuxi Classic title
World No. 1 Neil Robertson claimed the opening ranking tournament of the world snooker calendar, fighting back to defeat John Higgins 10-7 in the final of the Wuxi Classic in China.
The 31-year-old underlined his status as world leader by completing successive ranking tournament wins in the Far East, following victory at the China Open in April.
It proved a true test of nerve for the Australian, as he had to produce a stunning comeback in the final session to cement victory and lift his eighth major title.
Higgins had stretched into a 5-2 lead over the 2010 world champion, but six consecutive frames with breaks of 51, 113 and 57 saw Robertson leapfrog the Welshman and move 8-5 ahead.
Higgins offered a brief response, but Robertson held on in the 17th frame to secure the £80,000 first prize.
Victory for the Melbourne-born cueman sealed revenge over Higgins, who had beaten Robertson 4-1 in the final of the Bulgarian Open earlier in June.
"It's unbelievable to win two titles in a row in China because a couple of years ago I would have been happy just to win back-to-back matches here," Robertson told worldsnooker.com. "This is easily one of the proudest moments of my career.
"I always knew I could win tournaments in the UK but there was a question mark over whether I could deal with playing in China. I'll go to the Shanghai Masters in September full of confidence and there's no reason why I can't win three in a row in China.
"I've made a change to my game this season, I'm playing a lot quicker, especially compared to the match against Robert Milkins at the World Championship when I got too negative and played too slowly. This week I have attacked and played quickly. It helps get the crowd on your side if you are more fluent and I'm going to stick with it.
"John was a hero of mine growing up so just to play him in a final was an honour, and to beat him is a dream come true. I have so much respect for him, I think whoever ends up with more world titles between him and Ronnie O'Sullivan will be considered the greatest player of all time. I'm very proud to have played that well against him in a final and it's a moment I will always remember."
The next ranking event is the Australian Open, which takes place in Bendigo in July.