Neil Robertson progressed into the second round of the Welsh Open with a relatively comfortable 4-1 win over Jackson Page.
Robertson headed into this tournament needing to win it in order to qualify for the Players Championships, and while there may be a long way to go in that quest, he made the perfect start here.
Page broke a pack of reds nicely, but could not get a good enough position on the black to sway momentum in Robertson’s favour.
The Welshman was left having to negotiate one more red if the opening frame was to turn in his favour, but failed to take advantage. Robertson would subsequently go onto a clearance of 50 to draw first blood.
The Thunder doubled his advantage by slowly but surely getting the job done, potting and engineering some good opportunities to pot a couple of reds.
He would progress to a break of 68, and suddenly the Australian was halfway towards booking his place in the second round.
Robertson was well on the way to wrapping up a third frame, before missing a routine black to the bottom corner.
After shaking his head in clear disbelief, Page returned to the table sensing an opening and a route back into this contest.
Page took that opportunity with ruthless efficiency on his way to a clearance of 57 to halve the deficit, leaving Robertson pondering a missed opportunity to move one frame away from victory.
The fourth frame began on a cagey note with an awkwardly spread pack of reds, and a lengthy safety battle ensued.
It looked like Robertson had found his flow again after brilliantly potting a long red of his own, but the positioning of the remaining reds proved to be troublesome.
But Robertson’s calm and measured approached was clearly paying dividends, as he made his way through the pack and sensationally cleared the table for a century break of 103.
Robertson looked like cruising to victory, but left a pink over the top pocket to give Page a glimmer of hope.
However, any hope was quickly extinguished after Page missed a simple-looking red to the bottom pocket, and the Thunder did not look back from that point onwards.
He ended with a speculative and ultimately failed shot to sink the pink, but ended with a clearance of 52 on a solid day’s work.