Neil Robertson won a dramatic final-frame decider to knock Mark Allen out of the Masters for the third year in succession.
The Australian repeated last year’s 6-5 win over his fellow left-hander, who he also knocked out in 2012.
The match was not of the highest quality but Robertson showed great resolve to come from behind five times before taking the deciding frame.
The four pre-interval frames were shared, Allen taking the opener with a 114 break before play turned scrappy and the players asked for the cue ball to be changed.
Allen won a messy first frame back with a 38 break to the blue, having earlier missed the simplest of reds.
Robertson levelled with a marvellous 101 break but a 65 restored the Antrim man’s lead.
In frame eight, Robertson’s had a break of 41 ended when he missed frame ball but he eventually potted it and Allen conceded despite all six colours remaining. Allen then responded with 52 to lead 5-4, but the world No 1 set up a decider.
He was in first with only 13 but Allen’s response, sparked by a superb long green, reached only 30 before a foul.
Robertson survived a huge kick on a blue to clear with 59 to the pink for victory but admitted afterwards he had struggled with the conditions.
“It was similar to the UK [Championship],” said Robertson, who last month called the second table at York’s Barbican Centre “unplayable” and “garbage”.
“When the arena is so hot the balls just spray off all over the place,” he added. “We had to get the white changed because it was playing like a ping- pong ball.
“After the interval it got a bit better but it was hard work. But I’m really happy with that clearance there, especially with that kick off the blue. I feel for Mark, it’s similar to last year and how he went out 6-5 to me.”
Robertson next faces Scot Stephen Maguire, who beat Joe Perry 6-4 on Monday.