O’Sullivan and Selby will meet in the semi-finals of the Snooker World Championship, with the first session due to take place on Wednesday evening live on Eurosport.
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Whilst O’Sullivan leads the head-to-head between the two, it is Selby who has emerged the victor in their two meetings in Sheffield, most notably in the 2014 final.
Selby ousted another former world champion, Neil Robertson, in the previous round and the Australian said he thought the Leicesterman was back to his best.
“He’s as tough a player as you would want to get to play over three days and four sessions at the Crucible,” O’Sullivan told Colin Murray before the match.
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He plays a different type of game, very tactical, he’s happy to sit it out and wait.
“It can be tough but like I said if I can find some strength over the distance and keep my scoring boots on and play some good safety I can match him for that sort of game. It’s up to me to try and create the openings and get in and score and try and make him not feel so settled.
“If I can put six or seven good frames then go missing for one or two that’s fine. But you can’t expect to go missing for four frames and get away with it. I got away with it against Mark [Williams] and I got away with it against Ding [Junhui], but I’m not going to get away with it in the semi-finals of the World Championship against anybody, really.
"Maybe some players you can get away with it, but somebody like Selby I’m going to need to play five or six frames and one or two dodgy ones and I can get away with that. But that’s the bar that’s set for this match.”
O’Sullivan, who spoke about how he has looked to try and enjoy matches more as he gets older, said before the tournament that he was like Roger Federer.
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But it was a different legend he said he needed to be like if he was going to go all the way and win another title.
“I probably need to be like a [Novak] Djokovic. You know Djokovic, he’s double solid, he does everything very well and he’s not going to give you anything. He’s not the most flamboyant, he’s not going to give you the Federer brilliance or the Nadal forehand but he’s there from start to finish and his form doesn’t dip much. I’ve always said to win in Sheffield you have to have that steady state type of game.
“I’ve played this tournament where I’ve been brilliant for quite a lot of the sessions. It’s brilliant, you cruise through it and think no-one has got within five or six frames of me but it’s not always like that. It’s hard when you have three or four frames where you go missing because that’s a big deficit to try and make up. In one match OK - but two or three matches at some point that’s going to catch up with you."
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