Ronnie O’Sullivan is undoubtedly the most prodigious talent to ever grace a snooker table.
As can often be the case with such players, at their best they can be untouchable but they can also be prone to lapses. It’s fair to say that we’ve seen this happen with ‘The Rocket’ over the years, but on his day there’s nobody like him. “I realised that it was snooker that gave me the opportunities,” O’Sullivan said on his revamped enthusiasm.
His form was sublime at the World Championships to round off the 2013/14 season as he looked to defend his title, though a resilient Mark Selby managed to rally to defeat him in the final.
This season he has already retained his Champion of Champions title and took his fifth UK championship. In the early runnings of The Masters he notched up a pair of centuries to equal Stephen Hendry’s record, and in the coming days he will surely surpass it I(which he now has with his century against Marco Fu in the quarter final 6-1 win), as the best break builder in the game.
On this kind of hot streak, can anybody prevent O’Sullivan from adding a sixth Masters title to his already extensive resume? According to Betfair’s snooker lines, it is extremely unlikely. O’Sullivan is evens, with Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy way behind at 9/2 and 7/1. A rampaging ‘Rocket’ saw the odds shorten with his first round victory.
O’Sullivan en route to winning last year’s Masters
Robertson’s win in his opener wouldn’t have led many to believe he’s a frontrunner, though he did get by Robert Milkins 6-4. He was down 4-3 though, and had to dig deep into his reserves the claw back the frames. A 117 and a 95 saw him progress but he’ll need to do better in the quarter finals against Ali Carter. (As indeed he did with a resounding 6-1 victory)
Shaun Murphy beat Mark Selby despite a late rally from the current world champion. This puts Murphy in good stead and helps build his confidence. The 2005 world champion hasn’t managed to reach those heights in ten years, but he took the World Open last season to take his first rankings win in three years.
Mark Allen (9/1) can’t be totally written off yet, nor can anybody that is still in the tournament to some extent, but O’Sullivan will be very confident moving forward given the field. Though you’ll have to stake a lot to recoup any sort of meaningful amount, I wouldn’t be looking past “The Rocket” to score his way to victory, with plenty more centuries on the horizon.