Robertson ‘desperate’ to take on Ronnie

PUBLISHED: 12:25 02 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:25 02 February 2016

Ronnie O'Sullivan reacts during his semi-final match against Stuart Bingham at the Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace (pic: Steve Paston/PA)

Ronnie O'Sullivan reacts during his semi-final match against Stuart Bingham at the Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace (pic: Steve Paston/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Australian praises O’Sullivan for Masters succeess

Ronnie O’Sullivan proved he is still the man to beat in the snooker world by cruising to a sixth Masters title earlier this month and world number three Neil Robertson admits he is desperate to have his shot at dethroning ‘the Rocket’ in the near future.

After a nervy 6-5 victory over Mark Williams in round one at London’s Alexandra Palace, Chigwell potter O’Sullivan saw off Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham before battering Barry Hawkins 10-1 in the final.

Robertson had been the sport’s in-form player heading into the tournament – winning the previous two big events, the UK Championship and Champion of Champions – but lost 6-5 to Judd Trump in the quarter-finals in one of the greatest matches in Masters history, which denied the fans a mouth-watering potential Robertson-O’Sullivan final.

Despite both players’ pedigree they have met just once in the past 27 months and that has the Australian salivating at the prospect of meeting O’Sullivan once again.

“I’d love to play him in a big final, that’s for sure – whether it be at the Worlds or the Masters,” said Robertson.

“He’s always a player I always get myself up for to play and it is always a great occasion. There’s an extra buzz around the crowd when Ronnie plays.

“We’ve got tremendous respect for each other as well, so I’d love to have a crack at him – he’s a player I admire very much.

“Looking back at the Masters, I was disappointed at the way that no-one really gave him any competition, whereas I know I would have really got myself up for that match and it would have been a great challenge to try and win three major title in a row.

“That would have been awesome, but it wasn’t to be. I won 12 matches in a row or whatever to win the previous tournaments and sometimes there is nothing you can do when someone produces their very best against you.”

The German Masters, which starts this week, is the latest event on the snooker calendar, but O’Sullivan will not be present – having lost to Stuart Carrington in qualifying.

Robertson also lost in the qualifiers, but will still be out in Berlin as a pundit for Eurosport.

With the World Championships now less than three months away, O’Sullivan will be thinking about adding a sixth world title to his collection and the Australian believes the 40-year-old is still the man to beat.

“Ronnie will definitely be playing at the Crucible, and maybe a couple of tournaments before that, but the world title is the one he really wants because he’s still got time to get to [Steve] Davis’ six and possibly have one last assault on Stephen Hendry’s seven,” added Robertson.

“After having such a big spell on the sidelines, he’s come back and won the Masters and he’s one of the few players who could do that.

“There’s a lot of players who struggle with the mentality of beating Ronnie O’Sullivan and if he runs into players like that, which he did at the Masters, then he’s going to be pretty hard to stop in Sheffield.”

*Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing all major ranking events including the Masters, World Championship and the exclusive “Ronnie O’Sullivan Show”.

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