Ronnie O’Sullivan marks his Masters return at Alexandra Palace with a tasty clash against Jack Lisowski on Tuesday.
O’Sullivan is the record seven-time Masters champion and boasts a prolific strike rate in the sport’s most prestigious invitational with 13 finals from 26 appearances.
The 46-year-old will make the short trip from Essex to Ally Pally for the first time since 2019, having opted not to participate in 2020, before losing to John Higgins in the Quarter-Finals in Milton Keynes 12 months ago.
O’Sullivan heads into the event on the back of winning his 38th career ranking title at the World Grand Prix before Christmas to end a run of five consecutive defeats in televised ranking finals.
The world number three has also reached the Semi-Finals of the English Open and Scottish Open this season and has not lost his opening match at The Masters for a decade.
O’Sullivan, who last triumphed here in 2017, is eyeing a perfect start to 2022 in what will be his 30th year as a professional.
Lisowski, however, is the man aiming to tear up the script as he vies for his first win in three appearances at The Masters.
The 30-year-old dropped out of the world’s top 16 following the World Grand Prix but secured his place in the event by virtue of the cut off being made after the UK Championship.
The attacking left-hander reached the Quarter-Finals of the recent UK Championship in York, losing out to eventual champion Zhao Xintong.
Six times a ranking event finalist, Lisowski is searching for his first victory over O’Sullivan at the fourth time of asking, having lost 5-2, 6-1 and 6-1 in their previous meetings in the 2017 English Open, 2018 UK Championship and 2021 Players Championship respectively.
Their latest show-down gets under way from 1pm GMT on Tuesday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames.
Neil Robertson, the 2012 Masters Champion, awaits the winner in the Quarter-Finals on Thursday.
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