Ronnie O’Sullivan has huge respect for his old foe John Higgins (Picture: Getty Images)
Ronnie O’Sullivan is well aware that he has a psychological advantage over almost every player he has ever faced, saying it is only Stephen Hendry and John Higgins who have never crumbled against him.
The Rocket is almost unanimously considered to be the greatest player to ever pick up a cue, looking to further cement that position as he bids for an eighth Masters title this week.
After beating Ding Junhui in the opening round, O’Sullivan really struggled to find his best form in his quarter-final clash with Barry Hawkins, but he still walked away with a 6-3 victory.
The Hawk had plenty of opportunities to pounce on opportunities presented to him by a below-par world number one, but also failed to produce the performance he needed.
O’Sullivan knows that his presence can cause opponents to wilt, even he is playing poorly, and if he is firing then he believes only Hendry and Higgins have stood up to him.
‘I’ve never worried about having a bad spell, because I’ve got so much confidence that when I play well, and it’s bound to happen, and when it happens they feel it,’ O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
‘I’ve known, ever since I was a kid, when I play I just feel like they’re going to crumble. It doesn’t matter who it is.
O’Sullivan had some memorable battles with Hendry earlier in his career (Picture: Getty Images)
‘There’s probably two players that I’ve hit with everything and they haven’t crumbled all the time and that’s probably Higgins and Hendry. But every other player that I’ve played, if I play well they just can’t cope with it.
‘I think the fear factor only comes when I perform and play well and they realise, this is why I’ve won so much.
‘I’m quite confident that as long as I do everything I can do right, then I’ll always have the upper-hand on pretty much everyone I play.’
O’Sullivan’s win over Hawkins saw him reach the semi-finals on Saturday, where he will take on Shaun Murphy after the Magician got the better of Jack Lisowski on Thursday evening.
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‘Every other player that I’ve played, if I play well they just can’t cope with it.’