Ronnie recalls Robertson mauling
Ronnie O'Sullivan admitted Neil Robertson "took him apart" as the defending champion was dumped out of the Dafabet Masters semi-finals in emphatic fashion on Saturday.
Robertson continued his scintillating form at Alexandra Palace with a 6-1 win over O'Sullivan to seal a final showdown against Shaun Murphy.
Murphy fought back from two frames down to beat Mark Allen 6-2 in the second semi-final and set up a repeat of the 2012 title match with Robertson, which the Australian won 10-6.
Robertson will fancy his chances of repeating that success following his impressive demolition of O'Sullivan.
The world number one , having produced what he described as one of the best performances of his career in beating Ali Carter 6-1 in the quarter-finals this week, was similarly ruthless as O'Sullivan suffered his first semi-final defeat in the competition after 10 successive wins.
And O'Sullivan conceded after the match that Robertson had exposed his weaknesses, while admitting he sensed such a result was coming having been "scraping through matches".
O'Sullivan, who had won 15 consecutive matches coming into the semi-final and was looking to win a third straight title following his successes at the Champion of Champions and UK Championship, said: " Neil played a great game and had me in lots of trouble.
"I missed a lot of balls and made a lot of mistakes. I knew it was coming eventually because I've been scraping through matches.
"The last time I played good consistent stuff was here and at the Welsh Open last season. Since then I've probably only played two good matches - the rest of the time I've just been digging in. Neil played well enough to expose my weaknesses - he took me apart."
The 39-year-old believes he can rediscover his old magic, though, adding: " I'm not the player I was 18 months ago, but I think I can get it back by playing in more tournaments.
"You can't go missing for five or six frames, as I am doing. I had years of that, and it makes things tough."
O'Sullivan, looking for his sixth triumph in the event, soon found himself in trouble as Robertson took the opening frame with a 100 break before the Australian snatched the second with a 66 clearance after O'Sullivan missed a frame-ball black on 63.
That became 3-0 before O'Sullivan finally showed what he was capable of with a 101 break in the fourth frame, but Robertson responded by reeling off the next three frames t o complete a 6-1 drubbing.
Robertson, who will now go in search of his second Masters victory and first title since the 2014 Wuxi Classic, said on www.worldsnooker.com: "Beating Ronnie here is a really special achievement for me.
"It was an amazing atmosphere. That's why I wanted to have a crack at him in the World Championship final last year, because he's the only player who can create that kind of atmosphere.
"If you put pressure on someone in any sport they will make mistakes. You have to keep your foot down, you can't let them back into the match."
Playing in his third Masters final in four years, Robertson now faces Murphy, who reeled off six successive frames to beat Allen.
Allen looked in good shape to progress when breaks of 83 and 62 saw him take a 2-0 lead, but Englishman Murphy roared back in some style.
He edged the third frame before winning the next five with breaks of 80, 83, 76, 102 and 60.