Spate of century breaks suggest O’Sullivan can romp to Masters
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 6, 2016
Ronnie O’Sullivan is back, and in devastating form ahead of the Masters Snooker 2016 – if his 100 per cent record in topping and winning Championship League Group One is any indicator.
800 not out
The Rocket surpassed the incredible milestone of 800 century breaks in competitive baize action en route to victory in his pool of this league format competition. O’Sullivan notched seven breaks in excess of 100, dropping just eight frames in as many matches, besting the likes of Mark Williams, John Higgins and Barry Hawkins.
Coral thus make Rocket Ronnie their firm 11/4 favourite to follow up with a sixth Masters success at Alexandra Palace, with the most prestigious non-ranking snooker event starting on Sunday, January 10th.
“I’m pleased to have had a few matches and I look forward to the Masters now,” said O’Sullivan. “It would be nice if I could bottle the scoring this week.
“To reach 800 is a nice milestone to get to. A thousand would be good, but I will probably have to play for another three or four years to get that.”
Rocket’s long voyage
O’Sullivan first won the Masters as a 19-year-old way back in 1995 when it was held across London at the Wembley Conference Centre. Taking a further three titles between 2005 and 2009, during which time this tournament switched homes to the new Wembley Arena, the Rocket also added a fifth success in 2014 at Ally Pally.
With his 2016 Masters campaign getting underway against Williams – who he has recently beat and is odds-on at 2/7 to repeat that – on Tuesday, January 12th, O’Sullivan would then expect to face world number one Mark Selby in the quarter-finals.
Despite turning 40 last month, the Rocket remains the green baize’s biggest attraction, and attendances for the 2015 UK Championship during the earlier rounds were notably down.
Neil Robertson, who triumphed at the Barbican Centre to secure a second UK crown, is O’Sullivan’s closest challenger in the outright Masters betting at 9/2.