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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Neil Robertson: Shanghai Masters 2018 preview - Rocket launches his season in Shanghai

O'Sullivan and Robertson shake hands (credit: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan aims to get his season off to a winning start by overcoming Neil Robertson in the 2018 Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.

The five-time World Champion has been out of competitive action since his Second Round defeat to Ali Carter at the World Championship five months ago.

O'Sullivan begins his campaign bidding to successfully retain the prestigious Shanghai Masters title in a revamped version of the tournament - which has been cut down to 24 players this year.

O'Sullivan is seeded number one in the new invitational and faces a tough opener at the Last 16 stage against 2010 World Champion Robertson.

Robertson safely progressed through his First Round clash with local qualifier Guo Hua 6-1 with a high break of 103 and began the season in dream fashion by winning the Riga Masters in July.

He has since suffered a Last 32 exit at the hands of Ricky Walden at the World Open in Yushan but will be encouraged by his recent head-to-head record against O'Sullivan, having two of their last three meetings.

O'Sullivan's notable victories over the Australian include the 2016 Welsh Open final, 2015 Masters Semi-Final and 2012 World Championship Quarter-Final.

World number three O'Sullivan picked up five ranking titles in arguably his best ever season last time out and will be hoping to hit the ground running and take his career ranking title tally to 34, two shy of Stephen Hendry's record.

The match gets underway from 12.30pm BST at the Regal International East Asia Hotel and will be contested over the best of 11 frames.

Former World Champion Stuart Bingham awaits the winner in the Quarter-Finals after he was handed a bye due to the late withdrawal of Shaun Murphy.


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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Neil Robertson: Shanghai Masters 2018 preview - Rocket launches his season in Shanghai

Ronnie O’Sullivan aims to get his season off to a winning start by overcoming Neil Robertson in the 2018 Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.

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