The Australian resumed 6-3 up overnight, but his lead was pegged back to two after a 31 minute frame went the way of O'Brien thanks to an excellent run of 58. It was the Irishman who also won frame eleven, this time a break of 64 cutting his arrears to just 6-5. It looked as if the Dubliner would level things up after carving out a lead in frame twelve, but Robertson to his credit stole the frame with an excellent clearance of 34 and celebrated in delight with a fist pump.
It was the next frame though that perhaps was the turning point in the match. A frame which lasted
69 minutes, the joint third longest in Crucible history went to Robertson on a re-spotted black. The pair had played some tremendous safety on the yellow before O'Brien finally potted it.
Robertson downed the green and brown, to lead by 18 with blue, pink and black left. After a fantastic long blue, the 38 year-old added pink and black to set-up the respot. Robertson won the toss and put O'Brien in, but the Irishman double kissed the black leaving it at the mercy of the Austrlain who potted it to go to the interval 8-5 in front.
After the mid-session break the Cambridge resident allowed O'Brien just four points, making breaks of 83 and 59 to set-up a second round match with Martin Gould.
Neil Robertson comments
Fergal is such a tough player, he just would not go away. It was like trying to get some chewing gum out of your carpet. I've won 10-5, but three of them were won on the black, so it could have been a different story out there.
I'm obviously relieved to get through and also pleased to be having a day off tomorrow, because after that 70 minute frame I need to.Some of the safety in that frame was quality, it seemed like we were on the yellow forever. I looked over to the other table, and it was like they were zipping through their frames quicker than us trying to pot one ball.
I needed that breakaway in the match to go 8-5, and from then on my tempo was good,I probably should have played a little more like I did at the end, at the start of the match.
Fergal has got endless amounts of experience, and he is not really slow but measured in his approach and rarely plays the wrong shot, so he is tough to beat.He never gifted me chances, I had to work for everything out there.
Last year was a great stepping stone for my career, if I could get to the semi-final this year I feel I would be more at ease. It was a good year for me and I carried that form with me in winning the Grand Prix. So I do feel that I can do well here this time.
I've never played Martin Gould, but he played well against Marco Fu to come through, so he will have my full concentration.
The interest as been good back home, after my good run here last year plus my other good reults. The Herald Sun, which is a big newspaper, gave me an excellent double spread. It's just a pity Australia is so far away,because snooker is popular out there. I suppose at the moment its just not a viable option to stage events out there.
I'm 100% behind the plans put forward from Barry Hearn,I feel there is a lot of players who cannot see the bigger picture. I think it's fantastic what he is offering. Barry is a clever guy, and knows what he is doing.
A lot of players are maybe scared that Barry will increase the prize money for the top players, and not at the bottom of the rankings. What a lot of players cannot see is that sport needs top players to promote the sport, and thus generate interest. Some players think they can practice for about a couple of hours a day and deserve around £20-£30k, for just being a top 64 player.They need to realise there is money to be won, but it needs hard work which I feel some players don't put in.
I am disappointed to lose, I didn't really get to top form. I lost one or two close frames yesterday, but I dig in well to go from 5-1 to 5-3. He made a good clearance to go 7-5 today, and his reaction showed he was under a bit of pressure. The next was a bit of a battle as we played for about an hour on the yellow I think! We played both some good safety.
If I had won the re-spot to go 7-6 I would have been in thick of it, but at 8-5 his tail was obviously up again. It was a frustrating season, I would like to have done a bit better. But hopefully, Barry unveils his plans and they pass and we get more tournaments. Whether you have a good season or a bad season you don't want to be a part-time snooker player. Being in the top 32 and playing only six tournaments a year is not on.