RONNIE O'Sullivan may seem peerless and fearless as he romps his way towards a successful defence of the Dafabet World Championship in Sheffield but that does not wash with Neil Robertson, the world No.1, who is not without a bit of a swagger himself after becoming the first player to make 100 centuries in one season.

The Australian believes he is one of the few players who could dethrone five-time champion O'Sullivan at the Crucible provided, of course, he can get past his semi-final opponent Mark Selby, who was leading the Australian 9-7 after yesterday's two sessions.

"I think I could test Ronnie; I would love to experience playing him in a final," said Robertson. "I might get battered but I would give it a real go. A lot of people want to see Ronnie really tested at the Crucible, it's not really been done for a while. I am sure it is great for some neutrals and some of his fans to see him crush people, a bit like Roger Federer at his best, and Tiger Woods.

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"I believe I am one of the only ones that can push him over four sessions if I get the chance. Some players have tried to stifle him, put the colours safe over the years and have tried to frustrate him. But that doesn't work any more because he is too good mentally.

"He used to give you easy chances trying to please the crowd if you kept it tight, but look at what happened when he played Mark Selby in the Masters this season, Ronnie annihilated him."

Barry Hawkins last night became the latest victim of the Rocket - the champion thrashing him 17-7 with a session to spare to book his place in a third consecutive world final at the Sheffield venue.

O'Sullivan and Robertson famously clashed in the Crucible quarter-finals two seasons ago. Robertson led 5-3 and was on course for a famous win, but the enigmatic O'Sullivan reeled off six frames to turn the match on its head, eventually winning 13-10.

"I have played Ronnie a couple of times here and he has got me 13-10 both times," said Robertson. "The match in 2012 he said he enjoyed that as much as any in recent years. I had been racking up the centuries after winning the Masters but he played one session of near flawless snooker.

"I think he calls me one of his favourites, me and Ding Junhui. I don't know why, I think I am pretty much a likeable person, and if he's out of an event he wants one of us to win it. But there is some mutual respect there. A few times he got a lot of flak over things where he didn't deserve it and I stood up for him and I think he remembers that."