Neil Robertson reckons he needs to silence Ronnie O’Sullivan’s rowdy support early on Thursday afternoon in their Masters quarter-final.
The 34-year-old originally from Australia but now based in Cambridge admits that clashes between the pair always have the feel of an Ashes-style rivalry.
People’s Champion O’Sullivan, going for a record seventh title at Alexandra Palace, is assured of raucous and partisan backing in his own London back yard.
But Robertson thrashed the Rocket 6-1 in the same tournament two years ago, and will draw on those memories despite two big losses to O’Sullivan last year.
And he is certain that exerting an early stranglehold and stamping his authority on the match will quieten O’Sullivan’s fans and give him the best chance of success.
Robertson, who won the Masters five years ago, said: “It always feels like Australia against England in the cricket when I play Ronnie.
“You certainly can feel like you are up against the crowd playing him, especially here at the Masters on his home patch.
“And if you are not ready for it, then it can get to players that kind of support and influence them.
“It’s like in football if you go to Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford, you are looking to keep the crowd quiet early so they don’t have anything to get excited about.
“If you can put pressure on him straight away then he can miss a few and they get frustrated.
“He is the only player where the crowd can have an effect on you, and that is why it is always a fantastic atmosphere when you play him. I can’t wait.
“Despite the recent defeats, three or four of the titles I have won I beat Ronnie along the way and I am looking to win as many big titles as possible now.
“We played twice last year, last season in the Welsh Open final which I let slip a bit really, and then this season at the European Masters in Romania when he played fantastically well.
“He was almost unpayable that day, but I feel as if I had gone into that match in the form I am in now, it would have been a different story.
“I was off my game and he took advantage, he can do that to anyone. And in the Welsh Open I was 5-2 up, could have been 6-2, and he got on a roll when he has hard to stop.
“I lost the plot going out to China and that frustration boiled over in the next few events. I wasn’t really able to put things right as there weren’t the gaps in the schedule.
“And we had a run of four weeks where if you were struggling you missed out on some title and money, unfortunately that happened to me.
“But I practised really hard over Christmas, and also over in Norway on Kurt Maflin’s table there where I was spending time with my family.”