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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Neil Robertson: Players Championship final 2019 preview - Rocket and Thunder collide for glory

Robertson and O'Sullivan shake hands (credit: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan looks to become the first player to successfully retain the Players Championship title when he faces in-form Neil Robertson in the final in Preston on Sunday.

O'Sullivan has coasted into his 50th ranking final this week and victory here would see him move within one of Stephen Hendry's record tally of 36 ranking titles.

The Rocket has made headlines for his Australian accent during his post-match interviews, so fittingly, he faces the most decorated cueist ever from Down Under.

Crowd favourite O'Sullivan began his title defence with a 6-4 win over Barry Hawkins before going on to defeat his great rival John Higgins by the same scoreline.

He then whitewashed Mark Allen 6-0 in a repeat of this season's UK Championship final, overcoming tricky playing conditions to remain on course for a fourth title of the campaign.

O'Sullivan, who has also picked up the Shanghai Masters Champion of Champions and UK Championship titles this term, is closing in on an historic 1,000 career centuries, needing just three more to complete the feat.

He revealed following his Quarter-Final victory that he plans to make the 1,000th in Shanghai later this year, but it remains to be seen if he can resist the temptation to potentially reach that landmark on Sunday.

Robertson, meanwhile, is bidding to make it back-to-back ranking titles following his Welsh Open success last month and make it three for the season after also claiming glory at the Riga Masters last July.

After defeating his fellow Cambridge-based cueist Joe Perry 6-3 in Round One, Robertson then dispatched fellow left-handers Mark Williams and Judd Trump 6-4 and will be quietly confident of continuing his winning streak here.

The 37-year-old is appearing in his 24th ranking final and is in search of his 16th career ranking title.

He has faced O'Sullivan on 21 previous occasions since 2005, losing 14 and winning seven - including the 2017 Hong Kong Masters final.

Their only other meeting this season saw O'Sullivan prevail 6-3 in the Shanghai Masters, adding to his notable head-to-head triumphs in the 2016 Welsh Open final and 2012 World Championship Quarter-Final.

Their latest encounter gets underway from 1pm GMT for a total of eight frames, before resuming to a finish from 7pm over the best of 19.


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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Neil Robertson: Players Championship final 2019 preview - Rocket and Thunder collide for glory

Ronnie O’Sullivan looks to become the first player to successfully retain the Players Championship title when he faces in-form Neil Robertson in the final in Preston on Sunday.

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