Ronnie O’Sullivan will make his first tournament appearance of the season in September’s Shanghai Masters and could be in line to face rival Ali Carter.
Reigning champion O’Sullivan, who has won back-to-back Shanghai Masters titles and three in total over the past decade, returns to competitive action for the first time in five months.
His last tournament appearance saw him suffer a shock early exit at the hands of James Cahill in the opening round of the World Championship back in April, and he has since taken a break from the baize.
O’Sullivan, who was ousted from the world number one spot by Judd Trump at the recent International Championship, will commence his Shanghai title defence in Round Two and awaits the winner of the clash between Ali Carter and an unconfirmed wildcard.
The £751,000 invitation event runs from September 9-15 and is comprised of the world’s top 16 players, plus the next four highest ranked Chinese players and four amateurs – two from the CBSA China Tour and two from China’s Amateur Masters series.
O’Sullivan and Carter have not met since their infamous Crucible clash in 2018 which saw ‘The Captain’ prevail 13-9 after a frosty affair which saw the pair come to blows at the table.
Trump, who is in the midst of a 12-match unbeaten run after winning the International Championship in Daqing to follow up May’s world title triumph, will start out against either Crucible semi-finalist David Gilbert or a wildcard.
John Higgins, the 2012 Shanghai Masters champion, awaits the winner of the tie between 2018 finalist Hawkins and Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao.
Mark Selby, the 2011 champion, will face either Jack Lisowski or a wildcard, while Neil Robertson could potentially meet home favourite Ding Junhui in Round Two.
Shanghai Masters 2019 Draw
Ali Carter vs Wildcard
Stephen Maguire vs Xiao Guodong
Barry Hawkins vs Yan Bingtao
Ding Junhui vs Wildcard
Shaun Murphy vs Lyu Haotian
Jack Lisowski vs Wildcard
Stuart Bingham vs Liang Wenbo
David Gilbert vs Wildcard
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Ali Carter/Wildcard
Kyren Wilson vs Stephen Maguire/Xiao Guodong
John Higgins vs Barry Hawkins/Yan Bingtao
Neil Robertson vs Ding Junhui/Wildcard
Mark Williams vs Shaun Murphy/Lyu Haotian
Mark Selby vs Jack Lisowski/Wildcard
Mark Allen vs Stuart Bingham/Liang Wenbo
Judd Trump vs David Gilbert/Wildcard