Neil Robertson reckons the cream of the snooker crop will continue to rise to the top in the behind-closed-doors format, writes Will Jennings.
The Thunder from Down Under, who lives in Cambridge, toppled world No.20 Barry Hawkins in the fourth round of the English Open on Thursday.
That booked his place in the quarter-finals of the first Home Nations event of the season as the world No.3 plots a route to a 19th ranking event title.
Many sports have seen some shock results in the Covid-19 era but Robertson, who is joined by fellow top ten stars Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Kyren Wilson and John Higgins in the last eight, says the world’s best players will continue to thrive.
Former world champion @nr147 has beaten Barry Hawkins 4-2 to reach the quarter finals of the https://t.co/0mCRoqdsmX English Open in Milton Keynes.— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) October 15, 2020
Breaks of 90, 57 & 91 for the world number three tonight.
He'll face Robbie Williams tomorrow! #HomeNations pic.twitter.com/ksJj12bKkr
The 38-year-old said: “It always rises to the top and always has done.
“Without the crowd people wondered how the top players would adjust - you see a few upsets but overall the top players have been able to get through quite comfortably.
“When I played in the quarter-finals in the first tournament we played [European Masters] you could have had all quarter-finals on Table One.
“I was playing [Shaun] Murphy, there was Judd [Trump], there was Kyren [Wilson], there was [Mark] Selby and there were loads of top players still in and it’s the same for this one.
“What you probably could see in an environment like this is perhaps a surprise winner.
“But it’s the same for everyone and we’re really lucky to be playing and competing for prize money.”
2010 world champion Robertson composed classy breaks of 91, 90 and 57 to advance to the last eight of the tournament in Milton Keynes.
'This is taking honesty to a new level' 😇@nr147 wasn't sure if he caught the green, but owned up to it anyway... 👏— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) October 15, 2020
📺 Eurosport 1
💻📱 Uninterrupted coverage: https://t.co/F0OJvAU1xd pic.twitter.com/oL5QKS7agm
And there he will meet world No.104 Robbie Williams, who has embarked on a brilliant run to the best-of-nine format after shocking both world No.5 Mark Allen and World Championship semi-finalist Anthony McGill.
Robertson hailed Williams’ aggressive style and is relishing the prospect ofan entertaining battle under the Marshall Arena lights.
“It will be another good game - he plays attacking snooker, goes for his long ones and tries to score and when you play players like that it’s always enjoyable,” he added.
“He’s improved a lot in the past five or six years - I think he’s struggled a little bit in the last 12 months but it’s good to see him back picking up results again.”