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Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Friday, 10 April 2009 18:10 UK

Higgins or me to win - O'Sullivan


O'Sullivan fears Higgins the most

World Snooker Championship
Date: 18 April-4 May 2009 Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: BBC Two, BBC Radio 5 Live, Red Button and live coverage, results and reports on the BBC Sport website

Ronnie O'Sullivan believes either he or John Higgins will win this year's World Championship if they find top form.

The world number one, aiming for a fourth Crucible crown, says only he and the Scot "can find an extra gear when needed" under the greatest pressure.

"We are probably the only two players that have the ability to do that," he told BBC Sport. "If we find our form, then it will be between me and John.

"If we don't find our game, then any one of 10 or 12 players can win it."

I'll allow the World Championship to bring out either the best or worst in me

Ronnie O'Sullivan

O'Sullivan opens the defence of his title against sometime practice partner Stuart Bingham a week on Saturday, 18 April.

Two-time champion Higgins, ranked number five in the world, plays Michael Holt in the first round.

"The top players always find that little gear when needed. That is what separates you from being number one to possibly number eight in the world," O'Sullivan said.

"I always believe that when my form's on, it just takes the opponent and the occasion to make you find that next gear.

"The two best players in the world and the two that are able to respond and raise the gear when needed are me and John Higgins.

"All the others are good, solid players but they are not used to raising that gear, or they can't."

The 33-year-old has endured a mixed season. After winning the opening tournament, the Northern Ireland Trophy, and then reaching the final of the Shanghai Masters, O'Sullivan has failed to progress past the quarter-finals in four other ranking events.


But he did win his fourth Masters title at Wembley with a 10-8 victory over Mark Selby.

"It has been a funny season," he added. "Last year I was much more consistent. This year I have still managed to win a few tournaments but I've just been a bit inconsistent.

"If I find a bit of consistency then I like my chances at The Crucible.

"But I don't want to put too much emphasis on it. I just want to go there and allow the moment and the occasion of the World Championship to bring out either the best or worst of me. That is how it is.

"I won't be getting too worried about anything. Hopefully when i am there the form will appear when it needs to be the most."

A fourth world title would see O'Sullivan move clear on his own as the fourth most successful player of the modern era, behind Stephen Hendry (seven titles), Ray Reardon (six) and Steve Davis (six).

Listen to the full Ronnie O'Sullivan interview on BBC Radio 5 Live Sport from 2130 BST

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see also
Ebdon outlasts Higgins in final
05 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Higgins beats O'Sullivan in China
03 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Hendry to face Williams in Worlds
11 Mar 09 |  Snooker
Inside Sport - Ronnie O'Sullivan
09 Dec 08 |  Inside Sport
O'Sullivan reclaims Masters crown
19 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Walden stuns O'Sullivan in final
05 Oct 08 |  Snooker
Classy O'Sullivan wins NI Trophy
31 Aug 08 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan wins third world title
05 May 08 |  Snooker

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