WORLD number one Neil Robertson is one win away from a fairytale appearance in the Australian Snooker Goldfields Open final.
The Melbourne ace advanced to the semi-finals after triumphing 5-2 over close friend Joe Perry at Bendigo Stadium last night.
The man Robertson dethroned at the top of the world rankings, Mark Selby, stands in the way of a maiden final appearance at his “home” event.
The world’s top two players clash from 7pm tonight.
Robertson defeated Perry in emphatic style last night.
The 31-year-old started the match with two centuries to skip to a 2-0 lead.
Robertson dropped the third frame, but Perry couldn’t make the most of several chances to pressure the world number one.
The home state hero eventually blasted three century breaks for the match, finishing with a 118 to the wild applause of the big crowd.
Despite his big scores, Robertson believes he can improve and that he was helped by Perry being off his game.
“Although I did have a couple of centuries and I felt great myself he did have a couple of chances as well,” Robertson said.
“I wasn’t making too many errors but then he started to play worse.
“When that happens you really need to keep your concentration at that stage and I just my concentration just slip a little bit.
“He started to play a bit better when I gifted him the third frame really and I was quite lucky to come out 3-1 ahead.
“I still made some unforced errors but finished off the match well.”
Robertson expects a tough strategical battle in tonight’s semi-final.
“It should be a great match, Mark’s steadily improved as the tournament’s gone on,” Robertson said.
“He’s going to make it tough for me, his safety game is unbelievable.”
Meanwhile, Robert Milkins battled past English compatriot Tom Ford 5-3.
Milkins advances to a semi-final showdown against Marco Fu, ranked one place below Milkins at No. 18 in the world.
Milkins stroked his way to a 3-1 lead last night, but Ford bounced back to take the fifth frame.
Fu and Milkins lock horns from 1pm today at Bendigo Stadium ahead of Robertson facing Selby from 7pm tonight.