The Third Round reaches its climax at the 2019 UK Championship in York on Tuesday as a clutch of star names bid to remain on course for glory in the prestigious Triple Crown tournament.
By the end of play on Day Seven, just 16 will remain standing in the quest to become UK Champion and secure the record £200,000 winner’s cheque at the York Barbican.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, the reigning and back-to-back Betway UK Champion, has stretched his unbeaten run to 16 matches by cantering into the Last 32 without dropping a frame.
The Shanghai Masters champion whitewashed Ross Bulman and Tian Pengfei but is poised for a much trickier test against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.
Noppon, who is now established among the world’s top 32, is appearing in Round Three here for the third consecutive year following a last-frame win over Jackson Page from a snooker required and a 6-3 defeat of former ranking event winner Anthony McGill.
The 27-year-old qualified for the World Championship in 2017 and reached the Semi-Finals of the World Open a year later, but is now facing one of the biggest matches of his career to date against the joint most successful player in ranking tournament history.
Elsewhere, two of Scotland’s finest snooker exports collide in the afternoon session as 2004 UK Champion Stephen Maguire faces 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott.
Dott, who has climbed back up to 19th in the world rankings, has dropped just one frame in thrashing Barry Pinches and Yuan Sijun, while Maguire appears to have overcome the worst of his fractured ankle which left him in a cast earlier this month and is out to reach the Fourth Round for the seventh consecutive time in York.
Ding Junhui, who became Asia’s first winner of this title when he triumphed in 2005 before repeating the feat in 2009, looks to remain in contention for further glory a decade on by overcoming two-time world finalist Ali Carter.
Carter, who has dropped just two frames so far, will have his sights set on a grudge clash with rival Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Last 16 but must first navigate his way past one of the most successful players in the sport’s recent history.
The afternoon session also sees 2015 UK finalist Liang Wenbo looking to end the ground-breaking run of Israel’s Eden Sharav – who stunned 2008 champion Shaun Murphy with a superb comeback in Round One.
The evening session, meanwhile, features a mouth-watering tie between attacking young talents Yan Bingtao and Jack Lisowski for the right to face Neil Robertson in the Last 16.
Two-time UK Champion Mark Selby is out to avert a potential scalp at the hands of world number 38 Martin O’Donnell – who enjoyed a terrific run to the Quarter-Finals here 12 months ago.
Michael White’s reward for his Second Round scalp of fellow Welshman Mark Williams is a show-down with former semi-finalist Mark Davis – who made his debut in this competition back in 1992 when White was only one year of age.
Gary Wilson, who fired in a sensational four consecutive centuries in his comeback win over Chris Wakelin earlier in the week, aims to maintain that clinical scoring form when he runs into former Masters finalist Joe Perry – who has come through gruelling battles against Simon Lichtenberg and Sunny Akani.
The action gets underway from 1pm GMT, with Third Round matches to be contested over the best of 11 frames.
Betway UK Championship 2019 Match Schedule
Tuesday December 3
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Noppon Saengkham
Ding Junhui v Ali Carter
Liang Wenbo v Eden Sharav
Stephen Maguire v Graeme Dott
Yan Bingtao v Jack Lisowski
Michael White v Mark Davis
Martin O’Donnell v Mark Selby
Gary Wilson v Joe Perry