Neil Robertson has compared facing Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Masters to taking on Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
Robertson got the better of O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals at Alexandra Palace on Thursday, which went some way to easing the pain of losing the final of the World Grand Prix to the Rocket last month.
It was a notable effort, as O’Sullivan was roared by his adoring public at Alexandra Palace.
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Robertson was taken aback by the greeting O’Sullivan got from the crowd, but is aware the seven-time winner is a firm favourite of the Masters crowd - similar to how the Swiss tennis great is adored at SW19.
“It was amazing being out there,” Robertson told Eurosport. “I thought my reaction was amazing, but when Ronnie came out it was on another level again.
“It’s like playing Federer at Wimbledon, you know you are going to have the majority of the crowd against you. It has nothing to do with me personally, but Ronnie is like no other player we have had in the game.
“You have to respect that, but you also need to be ready to go and play well when you get the chances and I felt as though 90% of the match was fantastic. There were one or two mistakes but that is to be expected when you are playing in a cauldron of amazing fans."
Robertson was pleased with how he responded to his first meeting with O'Sullivan since defeat in Coventry in December.
“I am very relieved as I did not manage to shake him off in the Grand Prix," Robertson said. “The disappointment of losing the final to him, I was determined to put in a big performance and I think I did that.
“It is a big improvement from my match on Sunday, and hopefully I can step forward again for the semis.”
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While O’Sullivan is the firm favourite of the fans, there were Australian supporters to cheer on Robertson.
A wag in the crowd shouted “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.” And although he stopped short of mentioning the Ashes on this occasion, Robertson was quick to reply: “Oi, oi, oi!”
O’Sullivan arrived at Alexandra Palace motivated for success, and was seen practicing at the venue through the week. He has no fear at the table, and Robertson feels that is a mindset top players have to adopt.
“He has won all the things he has won, so there is no reason for him to fear anybody,” Robertson said. “If you are a top player in the game you can’t allow yourself to be worried about someone else.
“The consistent tournament winners are the ones who put matches behind them and just try to be as positive as possible.
“Maybe some guys do fear the player and the opposition, but for me I have never feared anybody and if I ever did I would have had to snap myself out of it or I would not have become the player I am.“
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