Neil Robertson is hungry to rise to the challenge of trying to bring down the ‘Rocket’. World No 1 Robertson is battling to join O’Sullivan in this year’s Dafabet World Championship final in Sheffield - and after becoming the first player to make 100 centuries in one season, the Aussie ace believes he is one of the few players who could de-throne five-time champion O’Sullivan at the Crucible.
O’Sullivan beat Barry Hawkins with a session to spare last night to reach his third successive final, and Robertson revealed: “I think I could test him. “It would be a challenge, but one I would love to experience. I might get battered but I would give it a real go. A lot of people want to see Ronnie really tested at the Crucible, it’s not really been done for a while.
“I am sure it is great for some neutrals and some of his fans to see him crush people, a bit like Roger Federer at his best and Tiger Woods.
“That’s how highly I rate him, but I believe I am one of the only ones that can push him over four sessions if I get the chance.
“Some players have tried to stifle him, put the colours safe over the years and have tried to frustrate him. But that doesn’t work any more because he is too good mentally. He used to give you easy chances trying to please the crowd if you kept it tight, but look at what happened when he played Mark Selby in the Masters this season, Ronnie annihilated him.
“[Two-time world champion] Mark Williams says on Twitter says he was a better player 10 years ago, but that is just rubbish.”
O’Sullivan and Robertson famously clashed in the Crucible quarter-finals two seasons ago. Robertson led 5-3 and was on course for a famous win, but the enigmatic O’Sullivan reeled off six frames on the spin to turn the match on its head, eventually winning 13-10. “I have played Ronnie a couple of times here and he has got me 13-10 both times,” admitted Robertson. “The match two years ago, well a lot of people felt like that was pretty much the final before the final.
“The match in 2012 he said he enjoyed that as much as any in recent years, I had been racking up the centuries after winning the Masters – but he played one session of near flawless snooker.
“He will do that, and when it comes you need damage limitation, and how you deal with it when it does come.”