O’Sullivan in the pink after quarter-final win

Ronnie O'Sullivan best moments

Ronnie looking to defy odds and defend

Ronnie O’Sullivan racked up another seriously impressive win on Thursday afternoon over Neil Robertson to reach the semi-finals of the Masters in London.

In normal circumstances you would now see traders falling over themselves to keep The Rocket on side. So, why are punters still able to get one of the greatest players to ever chalk a cue at a reasonable offer? Coral are currently trading the 41-year-old at a market best price of 6/4. Have we dropped the ball?

Looking out of sorts

Well, not exactly, for as good as Ronnie is – demonstrated once again when hammering Barry Hawkins to win the 2016 version, his sixth outright title to bring him on a par with Stephen Hendry – he faces what appears to be a gruelling route to the top-step.

Sneaking through against Australian Neil Robertson courtesy of a 6-3 score, the match wasn’t as cut-and-dry as the tally would suggest, with both men looking out of sorts. O’Sullivan just seemed to get the better break on the day and went on to bank his place in the semis where he will now face the winner of Marko Fu and Mark Allen on Saturday.

Rocket fears for the future

Speaking after the match, Ronnie, who hasn’t won a title in almost a year, February’s Welsh Open shaping as the last, didn’t exactly fill backers with confidence…..

“I can feel and sense that I am missing too many easy balls now. I need to cut them out,” he told the BBC after beating Robertson.

“I am going to keep dragging my career out as long as I can, that is all you can do.

“It is nice to know if your game is coming back or not. I don’t want to be at the point where I am being delusional and carry on playing for 10 years thinking I am good but I am not.

Despite those doubts, he is favourite in the betting to go on and lift the title, and if you are throwing your weight behind the game’s top personality, then it pays to get on sooner rather than later, as that generous offer shouldn’t wait around too long.

Selby targets Triple Crown

O’Sullivan’s main danger comes in the form of fellow Englishman Mark Selby, who ranks as the tournament’s third-most successful player, with three winner’s medals and two runner-up finishes.

The current world number one came to the Ally Pally chasing down snooker’s Triple Crown – World Championship, UK Championship and Masters – and rates as a serious contender, with Coral making him 9/4 second-favourite.

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