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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Rocket Ronnie O'Sullivan looks ready to return with a bang

Ronnie O'Sullivan doesn't often turn down an invitation
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Eurosport 2, 7.30am & 12.30pm Wednesday

Ronnie O'Sullivan will play his first competitive frame of snooker since he was beaten by Ali Carter at the last-16 stage of the Betfred World Championship when he tackles Neil Robertson in the Shanghai Masters second round this afternoon, and you can expect the Rocket to return with a bang.

O'Sullivan is the defending champion and lost just nine of the 50 frames he contested in Shanghai last year. Those imperious performances came against top-class cuemen - Joe Perry, Barry Hawkins, Mark Williams, John Higgins and Judd Trump were among the Chigwell potter's victims.

The format has completely changed this year, with the event moving from a 128-player ranking event, to a 24-runner invitational, but that is unlikely to hinder O'Sullivan's chances given his record in snooker's biggest invitational event, the Masters. 

O'Sullivan's lack of match practice could be seen as a negative, but it's hard to doubt the preparation of a player who won the World Championship following an extended break. 

Robertson is a more than capable break-builder but his open game and occasional loose safety shots could give the Rocket plenty of chances.

O'Sullivan can be backed at 8-11 to win by two frames or more and that looks worth snapping up. 

Mark Selby is rated a narrow favourite to get the better of Ding Junhui in Thursday morning's quarter-final clash. 

R O'Sullivan -1.5 frames
3pts 8-11 BoyleSports

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O'Sullivan is the defending champion and lost just nine of the 50 frames he contested in Shanghai last year
E.W. Terms
Sky bet