Ronnie O'Sullivan headlines the action when he takes on Blackpool's James Cahill as the China Open Qualifiers continue at the Preston Guild Hall, while Stuart Bingham, Marco Fu and Kyren Wilson also feature on Thursday.
The Rocket is appearing for the first time since capturing his seventh Masters title on Sunday - becoming the most successful player in the history of the event - and will be eager to build on his momentum here.
O'Sullivan launches his quest for a third China Open crown - and first since 2000, against Cahill, who is aiming to make it third time lucky having lost each of the two previous showdowns.
The world number 100 is desperate for a strong run during the second half of the season to boost his hopes of remaining on the tour, and claiming a scalp here would provide him with the best possible start.
Marco Fu reached the Masters semi-finals last weekend (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Elsewhere, Scottish Open winner Fu will be eager to continue the brilliant form that has seen him win 16 of his last 18 matches in all competitions.
The man from Hong Kong, who has also reached the semi-finals of the UK Championship and Masters during that run, is looking to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the event for the first time, and his mission begins against Daniel Wells in Preston.
Meanwhile, world number two Stuart Bingham is hoping to bounce back from his first-round exit at the Masters when he faces Thai veteran James Wattana, as is Kyren Wilson against Cyprus' Michael Georgiou.
Northern Ireland Open winner Mark King clashes with amateur Marc Davis and Ryan Day takes on Fraser Patrick, while last year's finalist Ricky Walden begins his quest to go one step better against home hopeful Zhang Yong.
Other Chinese players in action include teenage prodigy Zhou Yuelong, who is up against Michael Wild, as Xiao Guodong and Mei Xi Wen face tricky tests in John Astley and Robert Milkins respectively.
Paul Hunter Classic runner-up Tom Ford takes on Noppon Saengkham and Matthew Selt plays Craig Steadman, while veterans Fergal O'Brien and Nigel Bond face off.
Play at the Preston Guild Hall gets underway at 10am GMT on Thursday, with all matches contested over the best of nine frames and the winners progressing to the final stages of the 2017 China Open.
China Open Qualifiers 2017 Schedule
Thursday January 26
34 Chris Wakelin v Scott Donaldson
35 Robert Milkins v Mei Xi Wen
36 Tom Ford v Noppon Saengkham
37 Kyren Wilson v Michael Georgiou
38 Xiao Guodong v John J Astley
39 Mark King v Marc J Davis
33 Stuart Bingham v James Wattana
40 David Grace v Sanderson Lam
41 Mark Joyce v Mitchell Mann
42 Ryan Day v Fraser Patrick
56 Fergal O'Brien v Nigel Bond
44 Ronnie O'Sullivan v James Cahill
45 Zhou Yuelong v Michael Wild
46 Matthew Selt v Craig Steadman
49 Marco Fu v Daniel Wells
60 Ricky Walden v Zhang Yong