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Magic shot puts Aussie into snooker semis
By Andrew Drummond
11:56 AEST Fri Jan 18 2013

A career-best shot in the deciding frame helped Australia's Neil Robertson move closer to defending his Masters snooker title in London.

The Melbourne-born world No.5 on Thursday overcame Northern Ireland's Mark Allen 6-5 in a match in which there was never more than one frame separating the pair.

And when the pressure was on in the 11th and deciding frame, Robertson escaped a snooker with an arc shot to pot a red en route to his third century break for the match and a semi-final berth.

"In terms of judgement, probably the best shot I've ever played," a happy Robertson said of his lucky escape in the closing chapter.

The pair went shot for shot including a personal tournament-best of 138 in the fourth from Allen, which spurred the world No.9 to a 3-2 lead.

But Robertson did not slip again, winning the sixth frame with 114.

The left-hander reached three figures again with 102 in the ninth and sealed his victory with 105 in the decider.

"I feel for Mark because to go out of the tournament without really doing anything wrong, it's just one of those unfortunate things," Robertson said.

His opponent was gracious in defeat and complimented the final-frame spectacular.

"He showed why he is, in my opinion, the best player in the world because not many players would have made a century from the way the balls were sitting ... in the deciding frame," Allen told reporters.

Robertson is vying to become only the fourth player to retain the invitational title.

"I'm one step closer. I'm in the semis which is a really great achievement considering the players in the tournament," he said.

"I'm very confident, playing very well. I just have to keep doing what I'm doing really."

But Robertson conceded he faces tough competition for the title.

After a day of rest, the 30-year-old on Saturday will meet world No.4 England's Shaun Murphy who, later on Thursday, overcame fellow former world champion, Scot John Higgins.