Robertson now looking the one to beat in York

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Neil Robertson cracked in four centuries as he handed out a 6-1 first-round beating to Tom Ford at the UK Championship in York, going on to hail it as his best performance of the season.

The former world and current Masters champion looked hugely impressive with perhaps the most convincing display from anyone at the tournament so far and, with two of his title rivals in the shape of Mark Allen and Judd Trump having perished already, he can look ahead with some optimism.

On paper, his battle with Leicester’s Ford had looked a tough one. Ford has been playing well and recently made a maximum at a tournament in Belgium but the Melbourne left-hander was in imperious touch.

His only notable slip came when he missed a routine red in the sixth frame when on 45 – Ford slipped in with a 58 to take his only frame – and Robertson shone with contributions of 129, 112, 100 and 127, the latter all the more admirable as it came with the black out of commission for the large part.

“I felt mega-confident,” said Robertson. “Practice has been going very well and I’ve got a good record against Tom. I knew if I could get on top early on then it would be tough for him.”