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Robertson: O'Sullivan favourite for sixth world title

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Neil Robertson and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Image credit: Eurosport

ByEurosport
05/04/2020 at 22:45 | Updated 06/04/2020 at 08:31

Neil Robertson believes Ronnie O'Sullivan will be the favourite to win a summer World Championship despite his recent indifferent form.

2010 winner Robertson made his prediction hours after World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn revealed he is hoping to stage the rescheduled World Championship behind closed doors with a July 25 start date in Sheffield.

The World Championship was due to start on April 18, but has been postponed because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

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  • Watch the World Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player
  • Hearn hopes to stage World Championship behind closed doors in July

Hearn is waiting on the green light to pencil in the event on the same dates the Olympic Games - delayed for a year because of the health crisis - were due to be held in Tokyo.

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That would see the 44th staging of the Crucible Theatre tournament begin on Saturday July 25 and end on Monday August 10.

Robertson believes five-times world champion O'Sullivan - who has not won a ranking event since he defeated the Australian 13-11 in the Tour Championship final last March - will fancy his chances ahead of title holder Judd Trump, who has lifted a record six ranking titles this season.

“Snooker is a very good TV sport. And it’s probably more equipped to deal with this situation than maybe other sports," said world number two Robertson, who also told The Sun he will support fellow professionals who are struggling financially due to the shutdown.

“Form goes out of the window now. It’s like starting a new season. We cannot do exhibitions or smaller events to get match sharpness.

“Myself and Judd were clear favourites from the end of the season.

But I feel Ronnie has a better chance than maybe if he had been busy in the second half of the season. He’s one who would be the favourite should it go ahead.

“A crowd plays a massive part with Ronnie. It can get on top of his opponent but at the same time, sometimes they can get on him if he’s not entertaining.”

The Tour Championship in Llandudno has already been rescheduled in the calendar, moved from March 17-22 to July 21-26, meaning the World Championship could start on the same weekend the Tour Championship is ending, but much will depend on how the health crisis develops over the next few months.

The tournament is the biggest in snooker with a £500,000 first prize. World number one Trump claimed his first world title with an 18-9 win over John Higgins in last year's final.

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