Neil Robertson makes Ronnie O'Sullivan World Snooker Championship prediction

April 10, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

The Dafabet Masters - Day Seven
Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan are among the favourites to win the World Championship this year (Picture: Getty Images)

Neil Robertson says Ronnie O’Sullivan has a great chance of a seventh World Championship title this year and will ‘blitz’ the opening rounds, if he continues the form he showed at the recent Tour Championship.

The Australian won that event but only after beating the Rocket in a superb semi-final which went all the way to a deciding frame and Robertson squeaked 10-9.

He may have lost, but O’Sullivan was clearly playing great stuff, as he did in his quarter-final win over Mark Williams as well.

There may be a touch of mind games to it and wanting to shift pressure away from his own shoulders as the tournament favourite, but Robertson is backing the six-time champ to have a great time in Sheffield this year and maybe match Stephen Hendry’s world title record.

‘Ronnie looks in brilliant form to go for Stephen Hendry’s record,’ Robertson told the Sunday Post. ‘This is probably the most focused that I’ve seen him for a long time, actually, and that makes him dangerous.

‘He’ll be feeling really good about his game going to the Crucible for sure.

‘I played him at the Tour Championship and if Ronnie plays anywhere like the way he played there then he’ll blitz his way to the one-table set-up. There’s no one who can really withstand that.

‘He didn’t play any stupid shots against me, didn’t do anything silly, didn’t really miss anything easy. His safety play was unbelievable.’

O’Sullivan has said something similar about Robertson, tipping the Thunder from Down Under for Crucible glory after their classic contest at the Tour Championship, which added to his Masters, English Open and Players Championship wins this season.

‘I think Neil is the man to beat going in to the Crucible, he is playing fantastic,’ said O’Sullivan. ‘He is producing some really unbelievable stuff. He is beatable, but you would have to play really well.’

He also told the Mirror of Robertson in February: ‘Without a doubt Neil is the best player in the world at the moment, hands down,

‘If he can get back to the semi-finals of the World Championship, he wins it as far as I’m concerned.’

There is an enormous amount of mutual respect between these two titans of the game, with Robertson adding of O’Sullivan: ‘He’s the greatest player ever, no doubt about it.’

The 46-year-old is less comfortable with that assertion, though, saying he doesn’t like to think of himself in those terms.

2019 Coral Players Championship - Day 7 (Final)
Robertson and O’Sullivan are in the same side of the Crucible draw, so could meet in the semi-finals (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I do not regard myself as the greatest ever,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport. ‘I think Stephen Hendry had a really good answer: as long as my name is in the conversation, you have to let other people decide that. All I have done is try to win and compete and play the way I want to play.

‘I have played a brand of snooker that is very difficult to play as an individual sportsman,” he added. “To play the way I play, it is not easy. Sometimes it is easier to win if you are more of a defensive, negative, counter-puncher sort of player.

‘I come out and I probably attack the balls more, which leaves you open to being picked off a little bit more. I just enjoy playing.’

The World Championship gets underway on Saturday 16 April at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, with O’Sullivan in action on the opening afternoon.

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