Judd Trump begins his quest for a second Masters crown when he locks horns with Ryan Day at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday.
The Ace went all the way here in 2019 as he completed the second part of a career Triple Crown, sweeping Ronnie O’Sullivan aside 10-4 in the final, and is aiming to become only the 11th multiple winner of snooker’s most prestigious invitational event.
Trump, who has reached a further four semi-finals since making his debut as a wildcard in 2009, almost reached a second showpiece 12 months ago. However, he was denied in the last four after a narrow 6-5 defeat by Barry Hawkins, who awaits the winner of this penultimate first-round encounter.
The Bristolian arrives at Ally Pally in fine fettle this year after winning Group Four at the Championship League earlier in the week, while he has also compiled two maximum breaks this season.
One of those came during the Champion of Champions final, where he was runner-up to O’Sullivan, and he has also reached a further three ranking quarter-finals this term.
Although, he will have his work cut out against one of the campaign’s tournament winners in Day.
The Welshman claimed the biggest victory of his career at the British Open in October, but he has struggled to build on that momentum – runs to the last 16 of the UK Championship and English Open representing his best ranking event performances since.
Nevertheless, the 42-year-old will be motivated to produce the goods on his seventh Masters appearance – and first since 2019 – while he is aiming to progress beyond the quarter-finals of the tournament for the first time.
The match gets underway at 1pm GMT on Wednesday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames at Alexandra Palace.
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