The draw for The 2021 Masters has been made, with Ronnie O’Sullivan versus Ding Junhui among the stand-out First Round ties at Alexandra Palace.
The 47th staging of The Masters features the world’s top 16 ranked players competing for £725,000 in prize money in the sport’s most prestigious invitational.
The event will see the return of fans for the first time since the World Championship final in August, with organisers hoping to allow up to 1,000 in for each session.
Stuart Bingham claimed the title for the first time in 2020 by defeating Ali Carter 10-8 in the final and will kick off his title defence against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Thailand’s Un-Nooh is one of two debutants in the 2021 Masters, alongside China’s Yan Bingtao – who has been drawn to face 2012 champion Neil Robertson.
Arguably the stand-out tie of the opening round sees reigning World Champion and record seven-time Masters champion O’Sullivan take on 2011 champion Ding.
Meanwhile, three-time champion Mark Selby opens up against Tour Championship winner Stephen Maguire, while 2018 champion Mark Allen faces two-time champion John Higgins.
World number one Judd Trump is perhaps the greatest player yet to have reached a Masters final and will begin his latest quest against former Crucible semi-finalist David Gilbert.
Kyren Wilson, the 2018 runner-up, will take on Jack Lisowski – making his third consecutive Masters appearance.
Shaun Murphy, who claimed Masters glory in 2015, takes on Mark Williams – who triumphed at Wembley in 1998 and 2003.
The full schedule of play will be confirmed in due course.
Masters Snooker 2021 Draw
John Higgins v Mark Allen
Stuart Bingham v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Ding Junhui
Kyren Wilson v Jack Lisowski
Shaun Murphy v Mark Williams
Neil Robertson v Yan Bingtao
Judd Trump v David Gilbert
Mark Selby v Stephen Maguire