Mixed emotions for world's finest in Riga, 2016/17 campaign begins with Robertson success

Robertson is looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2015/16 season.

Mixed emotions for world's finest in Riga, 2016/17 campaign begins with Robertson success
Neil Robertson celebrates his twelfth tournament victory (photo: Live Snooker)

After arguably one of the most exciting snooker seasons in the sport's illustrious history, it was back to business as Latvia hosted the first major tournament of the season. The likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan and reigning champion Barrh Hawkins decided not to enter the tournament, but some new and returning names began to create a tag for themselves on the world stage.

Some new and returning faces set Riga alight 

50 year old amateur Darren Morgan produced the shock of the tournament, dismissing the likes of Zhao Xintong, Ken Doherty and Xiao Guodong, before losing out to the eventual champion Neil Robertson in the semi-finals. Morgan was ranked as high as eighth in the world, all of 22 years ago.

A less familiar name is that of world number 82 John Astley. The 27-year-old went as far as the last eight of the tournament, stunning Joe Perry in the first round and adding Jimmy Robertson to his scalps, following a season in the wilderness last year. Perry was not the only top ten name who suffered a first round shock, as Marco Fu and Mark Selby lost to Graeme Dott and Michael Holt respectively.

John Astley did not play a match of note last season (photo: Getty Images)
John Astley did not play a match of note last season (photo: Getty Images)

Holt continues his good form but Robertson prevails

Holt was beginning to earn his badges at the latter end of last season, and the Riga Open certainly belonged to himself and Robertson. A challenging route to the final saw Holt take on and defeat the likes of Stuart Bingham and Mark Williams following his victory over Selby, before Robertson eventually proved to be too strong for him in the final.

Whilst Holt was pulling up trees in 2015/16, Robertson had a rollercoaster of a season, culminating in an early exit from the World Championship. Yet he was in fine form in Riga, dropping just six frames in six matches and defeating big names including Judd Trump and Matthew Stevens before that 5-2 final success earned the Australian a twelfth major crown.