Mark Selby will look to deny Robert Milkins a maiden victory at the Masters when they collide in the opening round on Wednesday.
The final match of round one at Alexandra Palace pits two players with extremely contrasting records at snooker’s most prestigious invitational event.
The Jester is embarking on his latest quest to land a fourth Masters title, while the Milkman hopes it will be third time lucky as he looks to get that elusive first win at the tournament under his belt.
Triumphing on debut in 2008, Selby also lifted the trophy in 2010 and 2013 while reaching a further two finals in his first seven appearances at the Masters.
However, the world number five has failed to build on that in recent years. Indeed, since beating Shaun Murphy in the 2014 semi-finals, where he was beaten 10-4 by Ronnie O’Sullivan in the showpiece, he has lost 10 of his last 14 matches at the event.
Runner-up to Mark Williams at the British Open and a European Masters and Shanghai Masters semi-finalist this season, Selby will be desperate to improve his recent Masters record.
Although, one positive omen is that he went on to lift the trophy following his previous two encounters with Milkins in major events at the World Championship and UK Championship eight years ago.
The reigning Welsh Open champion is back at Alexandra Palace for his third appearance after a nine-year absence.
The winner of last season’s BetVictor European Series bonus, Milkins has struggled to build on that this term. Despite reaching the Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions quarter-finals, he has failed to progress beyond the last 16 of any ranking event.
With both players having a point to prove, we should be set for an exciting climax to the opening round at this year’s Masters.
The winner of the match will play either Mark Allen in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Play gets under way at 7pm GMT on Wednesday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames at Alexandra Palace.
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