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Robert Milkins shocks Neil Robertson at the Crucible

Updated: Thursday, 25 Apr 2013 20:37 | Comments

Robert Milkins has revealed how the personal turmoil he suffered impacted on his game
Robert Milkins has revealed how the personal turmoil he suffered impacted on his game

Robert Milkins tonight revealed how he has climbed out of life's gutter after causing a stunning upset by knocking Neil Robertson out of the Betfair World Championship.

The 37-year-old from Gloucester was in a bad way six years ago when friends took him in and rescued him from sliding into further turmoil.

Since then, the man who beat Jimmy White in qualifying to earn a first Crucible appearance since 2005 has put his personal life in order and his career has been transformed, with Milkins at a career-best 19th in the rankings and eyeing a long run in Sheffield.

World number two Robertson, who lost 10-8, was hugely impressed by the man who he felt could be "a lunatic" on the table in the past, saying: "He handled the pressure a lot better than he perhaps would have done a few years ago."

And Milkins explained how being happy at home has transformed his fortunes, following the loss of both parents and a painful divorce.

"I'm happy with life. I've got two young kids, a lovely missus, good friends behind me, a good manager and a good coach," he said.

"I don't need much else. Before I had nothing, nothing at all.

"I was in a flat, just going out drinking every day; then I got evicted and I was 20 to 30 grand in debt. I was just going down the gutter and I was lucky that some friends of mine, Dean and Mandy, came along.

"They'd taken me in 15 years previously when my mum died as well, so they came back into my life and helped me out.

"I'd lost my mum, l'd lost my dad, I got divorced. It just blew me apart.

"Now It's all turned round and I'm chuffed to bits that it has."

In his darkest days, Milkins was neglecting his game, and his results suffered accordingly.

"Snooker was the last thing on my mind. It's not the be-all and end-all, and when things happen in your life you don't really think about having to go and practice," he said.

"All you want to do is go and have a drink. I didn't have a drink problem, but I had to be out and among other people."

Now Milkins has the opportunity to really make an impact at the World Championship, having become the sixth qualifier to send a seed crashing out in round one.

He takes on Ricky Walden next, and a quarter-final against Michael White or Dechawat Poomjaeng awaits the winner of that match.

The draw has opened up remarkably and Milkins knows it.

"Let's not beat around the bushes, we've all got a good draw now. The four of us in this section have a great chance to get to the semis," he said. "Beating Neil is definitely the biggest win of my career."

Shaun Murphy began his second-round clash with Graeme Dott in fearsome form to deal a fresh blow to fading Scottish hopes of Crucible glory.

Potters from Scotland have landed 12 of the last 23 titles in Sheffield, with Stephen Hendry landing seven of those, John Higgins four and Dott one, in 2006, the year after Murphy triumphed.

But with Hendry retired, and with Higgins, Stephen Maguire and Alan McManus knocked out in the first round, only Dott is flying the Saltire.

Murphy built a 6-2 lead after the first session of the best-of-25-frames second-round tussle, firing back-to-back breaks of 128 and 112 early on.

Were Dott to lose, it would be the first time since 1988 that no Scot has reached the quarter-finals.

Stuart Bingham's 10-2 win against newcomer Sam Baird completed the last-16 line-up, as the world number eight finished in style with a 79 break.

Baird, 24, was the lowest-ranked player in the field at number 83 and found the going tough.

Baird said: "I'd like to come back and have another go for sure. I'll go home tomorrow and I might not watch the snooker for a few days."

Bingham said: "You either thrive on the atmosphere or you buckle under it. Thankfully I got on top of Sam early and he started feeling it.

"It was important for me to get the job done as soon as I could. I was tired today because despite leading 8-1 overnight I didn't get a great night's sleep."

He tackles John Higgins' conqueror Mark Davis next, bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

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