Milkins eyes ‘Rocket’ upset

Robert Milkins has said he will have to be on top form when he takes on world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round of The Masters but he insists he can progress in the tournament (O’Sullivan 1/8, Milkins 5/1 – The Masters 2014 – Matches).

Milkins has qualified for the prestigious event for the first time in his 19 years as a professional but faces a daunting first-round test in the shape of the four-time champion.

However, the 37-year-old insists he is looking forward to the event, despite the fact he will be facing Betfred’s 5/2 favourite in the opening round.

“It’s been on my mind for quite some time – playing at the Masters,” he told the BBC. “It’s such a prestigious tournament and all that goes with it. And the atmosphere is meant to be great at Ally Pally [Alexandra Palace].

“I am really looking forward to it even though I have a tough match.”

Milkins suffered a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of O’Sullivan in the UK Championship in December but claims that defeat will not play on his mind when he takes on ‘The Rocket’ on Tuesday.

“I did get a pasting but I should have won the first frame and I should have won the second,” he explained.

“I missed easy balls and you can’t do that against Ronnie.

“He had a good break to go 2-0 and I broke off the next frame and he did a total clearance to go 3-0 and it was match over. You can’t miss pinks off the spot against Ronnie.”

Milkins is playing the best snooker of his career, despite his comprehensive defeat to O’Sullivan in December, and is currently ranked as the world number 13, his highest to date.

The Gloucester-based cueman claims he will approach the match-up with five-time world champion with no fear and is relishing the prospect of a packed Alexandra Palace on Tuesday night.

He added: “People talk about Ronnie but Neil Robertson is the best in the world at the moment.

“Drawing him, Ronnie, Ding [Junhui] or [Mark] Selby is equally as bad.

“In fact Ronnie is probably the best I could have drawn because of the atmosphere, which will be great.”

Robertson and Selby can both be backed at 9/2  to win The Masters, while Milkins is 150/1 to take the top prize.

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