Mark Allen aims to maintain his blistering start to the season against Barry Hawkins in the Masters first round on Tuesday.
The 2018 champion and two-time finalist go head to head in a battle of the left-handers at the Alexandra Palace.
Allen has been the player of the season thus far, racing clear at the top of the one-year list after landing the Northern Ireland Open and UK Championship crowns.
The Pistol, who also reached the British Open final, is now aiming to become the first player to win the UK and Masters titles in the same campaign since Mark Selby achieved the feat in 2012-13.
However, he must banish his poor recent record in snooker’s most prestigious invitational event, having suffered four successive first-round exits since lifting the trophy following that 10-7 victory over Kyren Wilson five years ago.
The world number five will also be wary of Hawkins, who has prevailed in two of their three previous encounters in Triple Crown tournaments, including a 6-2 triumph in the 2016 Masters quarter-finals.
That came on the Hawk’s way to reaching the first of two finals. There, he was comprehensively swept aside 10-1 by Ronnie O’Sullivan, before succumbing 10-4 to Neil Robertson in the showpiece 12 months ago.
Hawkins reached another final at the European Masters in August, losing 9-3 to Wilson, but he has failed to subsequently kick on and build on that momentum.
Indeed, a run to the English Open last 16 before Christmas represents the only time he has progressed beyond the last 32 at any tournament since.
A showdown with either Judd Trump or Ryan Day awaits the winner of this match in the Masters quarter-finals.
Play gets underway at 1pm GMT on Tuesday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames at Alexandra Palace.
18+ | Funded account required | Geo restrictions may apply | Please Gamble Responsibly
How to watch Allen v Hawkins live stream
2) Register an account, place a £10 first bet and get £50 in Free Bets* (18+ only, T&Cs apply)
3) Once registered, go to the sports homepage and select ‘Snooker’ from the left-hand menu
4) Select the play icon next to the match in progress and the stream window will appear
*18+ only. New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £50* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you five times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. BeGambleAware.org. *or currency equivalent.
The action is also available to watch live at Skybet; to access, simply:
2) Register an account
3) Place a first bet of £5 or more and get £20 in Free Bets
4) Go to the Snooker menu and select ‘Watch Live’ next to the match in progress
18+ | #Ad | Be Gamble Aware