Ronnie O’Sullivan aims to maintain his perfect record over Robert Milkins when the pair collide at the Champion of Champions in Bolton on Thursday.
O’Sullivan has won all seven of his previous meetings with Milkins dating back to 2000, and the aggregate frame score stands at a resounding 42-5.
O’Sullivan is the most decorated player in the nine-year history of the Champion of Champions, having lifted the trophy in 2013, 2014 and 2018.
The Rocket, who equalled Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles at The Crucible earlier this year, is aiming to progress from the group phase of this event for the first time since 2019.
The world number one has had an indifferent start to the season, picking up the Hong Kong Masters title last month, but suffering a shock early exits to Alexander Ursenbacher and David Grace in the British Open and Northern Ireland Open respectively.
He will be keen to avoid a similar fate against a player making his debut in this elite invitational after picking up his first ranking title earlier this year.
Milkins, who turned professional in 1995, finally opened his account at the Gibraltar Open in March with victory over Kyren Wilson in the final.
The former Welsh Open semi-finalist, now ranked world number 27, has made eight World Championship appearances and was notably thrashed 13-2 by O’Sullivan in the Last 16 twenty years ago.
The match gets under way from 1pm GMT and will be contested over the best of seven frames, with either UK Champion Zhao Xintong or Women’s World Champion Mink Nutcharut awaiting the winner in the evening’s group final.
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