Robertson should be stopped by Rocket Ronnie in Masters semis

Defending Masters snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has won twice as many head-to-heads with his semi-final opponent Neil Robertson from their 15 previous meetings. Coral make ‘the Rocket’ odds-on favourite to both retain his title (5/6) and to win his latest match-up (1/2) with ‘the Thunder from Down Under’.

Robertson, a 13/8 match outsider and 3/1 tournament chance, has five victories over O’Sullivan, but they have all come at minor ranking, less prestigious or league events. Rocket Ronnie has a Masters win over the Aussie on his CV from 2010, a 6-4 victory, and odds for a repeat scoreline are 5/1.

Both of these top potters were hugely impressive in setting up this final four meeting by romping to respective 6-1 wins in the quarters. While the Thunder roared past Ali Carter, not long back on the baize from a battle with cancer, Rocket Ronnie surpassed Stephen Hendry’s record of most competitive century breaks.

Masters champion in 2012 Robertson can push five-time winner O’Sullivan all the way, and a 16/5 price says their encounter will go the distance to a deciding frame.

In the other Masters semi, Northern Ireland’s ‘Pistol’ potter Mark Allen meets Rotherham native Shaun ‘the Magician’ Murphy, with the latter an odds-on 8/13 favourite for victory.

History is on the side of former world champion Murphy, with nine wins to County Antrim cueman Allen’s four, though he is a 5/4 to upset his opponent and reach the final.

Whoever wins this encounter between Magician and Pistol, they are rated as tournament outsiders. Murphy is a 9/2 chance to take the Masters crown, while Allen is longer at 13/2.

These two met in the World Open semi-finals last year, with the Magician running out a 6-4 winner, and a repeat scoreline comes in at an 11/2 chance.

Allen has won the opening frame in each of the last three meetings with Murphy, so he’s great value to do so again at 21/20.