Welsh Open Final Preview: Robertson or O'Sullivan, who will triumph?

Neil Robertson and Ronnie O'Sullivan will be looking to add to their previous Welsh Open titles.

Welsh Open Final Preview: Robertson or O'Sullivan, who will triumph?
Will O'Sullivan be looking on against Robertson? (Photo: Sky Sports)

The Welsh Open climaxes on Sunday with one of sport's greatest rivalries, between England and Australia, as two greats of the modern era face off at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena.

The Rocket has made the headlines this week

Neil Robertson has made an inconsistent start to the year, failing to qualify for the German Masters, before showing grit and determination to come from behind on a number of occasions to make it through to the Welsh Open final.

Whilst the Aussie has quietly gone about his business, Ronnie O'Sullivan has hit the headlines for that 146 break, before claiming that snooker bores him on his way to the final. The man from the West Midlands has divided opinion but there is no debate over just how good O'Sullivan has been on his route to the final. A great spell of form, just weeks after blasting his way to the Masters Championship after a year out of the game.

The statistics are against Robertson

The form book certainly favours O'Sullivan who has dropped just 6 frames on his way to the final, compared to Robertson's 14. The Englishman's conquests include world number one Mark Selby, Yu Delu and Joe Perry, whilst fourth seed Robertson has seen off the likes of Mark Allen, Marco Fu and Ding Junhui who has the only 147 break of the tournament.

Both players have experienced periods at the helm of the sport, but Robertson's record struggles to compare with that of O'Sullivan. The Rocket goes in search of his fourth Welsh Open title, after 27 major ranking competition successes. Robertson is hoping to win his second Welsh Open trophy, in a career that holds 11 ranking titles to date. Yet there is little to choose in the head-to-heads between the two players. O'Sullivan edges ahead 10-6 from 17 games in this department, with one Welsh Open quarter-final success between them against each other.

The number of frames shared between the two is almost evenly split, with O'Sullivan leading 77-68, but Robertson will do well to get close to the man who won 10-1 in his last final. The Australian's best chance could be if the number 6 seed decides the £60,000 prize money is not enough for him, as O'Sullivan seeks to extend an 18 game winning streak and win his second trophy of 2016.