Former Masters Champions Judd Trump and Mark Allen collide in the opening round at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday.
A mouth-watering encounter sees world number two Trump take on the man he succeeded as Masters Champion in 2019 in what promises to be a heavy-scoring epic.
Trump is making his eleventh Masters appearance since 2009 and is looking to make up for lost time, having missed last year’s event in Milton Keynes due to a positive Covid test.
Trump, whose tally of ranking titles now stands at 22, is yet to open his account for the season in that particular department, but did claim glory at the Champion of Champions last November.
The 2019 World Champion, however, has suffered early exits in each of his last three televised tournaments and will be determined to get his season back on track by challenging to become a multiple Masters Champion.
Allen has been an ever-present at The Masters since 2009 and is out to end an unwanted run of three straight First Round exits in the sport’s most prestigious invitational.
Allen ended Trump’s three-year reign as Northern Ireland Open champion by triumphing on home soil in Belfast last October for his first ranking title since 2018.
The 35-year-old has had to contend with personal issues away from the table which led him to withdraw from the Champion and Champions, and he has also failed to qualify for three ranking events so far this season.
This will be the second meeting between Trump and Allen in The Masters, with their only previous encounter coming back in 2009 as the two debutants collided in the Wildcard Round, with Allen prevailing 6-4.
They notably contested the 2011 UK Championship final, won by Trump, but it is Allen who has the overall upper-hand with 11 wins from their 20 matches in total.
Their latest show-down gets under way from 1pm GMT on Wednesday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames.
Either 2020 Masters Champion Stuart Bingham or 2018 runner-up Kyren Wilson will await the winner in the Quarter-Finals on Friday.
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