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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham: Masters Snooker 2019 preview - Rocket begins Masters mission

Bingham and O'Sullivan shake hands (credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan commences his quest for an eighth Masters title against Essex rival Stuart Bingham at Alexandra Palace on Monday afternoon.

O'Sullivan is the most decorated player in the history of the sport's most prestigious invitational and heads across the capital to Ally Pally aiming to continue his imperious winning run.

The Rocket culminated a memorable 2018 by claiming a record-breaking seventh UK Championship title in York with victory over Allen in the final, adding to his four other tournament wins during the year.

The world number three has appeared in 12 Masters finals since making his debut back in 1994 and has lost in the First Round on just three occasions, but never at Alexandra Palace.

O'Sullivan's incredible longevity since turning professional in 1992 sees him continue to topple numerous records, and with 986 career centuries to his name, the magic 1,000 is now very much in his sights.

Bingham, meanwhile, missed out on last year's Masters through suspension and will be keen to make up for lost time by tearing up the script against the crowd favourite and tournament favourite.

His record in this elite competition, however, makes for worrying reading, having suffered seven First Round exits in eight appearances, with the only exception coming in 2016 - when he reached the Semi-Finals.

Winner of this season's English Open and semi-finalist in last month's UK Championship, 'Ball Run' is eyeing only a fourth win over O'Sullivan in 18 attempts and a first since the 2015 World Championship Quarter-Final.

O'Sullivan prevailed 6-2 in this season's Shanghai Masters and 4-2 at the Champion of Champions, having also ended Bingham's landmark run at The Masters in 2016 with a 6-3 Semi-Final victory.

Their latest encounter gets underway from 1pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames.

Welsh ace Ryan Day awaits the winner in the Quarter-Finals after he knocked out two-time Masters Champion John Higgins in Round One.


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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham: Masters Snooker 2019 preview - Rocket begins Masters mission

Ronnie O’Sullivan commences his quest for an eighth Masters title against Essex rival Stuart Bingham at Alexandra Palace on Monday afternoon.

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