Ronnie O’Sullivan looks to get his season off to a winning start when he begins the defence of his Shanghai Masters title on Tuesday.
O’Sullivan has enjoyed a five-month snooker sabbatical since suffering a shock First Round exit at the World Championship back in April and will be determined to hit the ground running in a city which has served him well in recent years.
The five-time World Champion, who was recently knocked off the world number one spot by rival Judd Trump, became the first player to successfully defend this title 12 months ago and has triumphed three times in total over the past decade.
O’Sullivan looked odds-on to be facing Essex rival Ali Carter for the first time since their fiery encounter at the Crucible in 2018, but local wildcard Zhang Yi had other ideas on Monday.
Amateur Shanghai Masters winner Zhang pulled off a shock 6-3 scalp of 2010 Shanghai champion Carter in Round One and is now gearing up for the biggest match of his career on home soil against the sport’s biggest box office star.
The opening session on Day Two plays host to the remaining two First Round ties, as 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham and 2009 Shanghai Masters finalist Liang Wenbo collide.
David Gilbert, World Championship semi-finalist in May, looks to avert a potential banana skin at the hands of wildcard qualifier Cao Jin.
One of four mouth-watering Second Round ties on Tuesday sees two former World Champions go head-to-head as three-time Crucible king Mark Williams faces Shaun Murphy – who defied a freak leg injury sustained while dancing with his young son at home to thrash Indian Open finalist Lyu Haotian 6-1 in his opener.
Mark Selby, who claimed glory here in 2011 before finishing runner-up five years later, kicks off his latest bid for Shanghai silverware with a tough clash against world number 11 Jack Lisowski – twice a ranking event finalist last season.
Kyren Wilson, who enjoyed his major breakthrough by winning the title here four years ago, starts out against flamboyant Chinese cueist Xiao Guodong – who thrashed Saturday’s Six-Red Champion Stephen Maguire 6-2 in Round One with high breaks of 69, 88, 70 and 100.
The action gets underway from 2.30am BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 11 frames.
Shanghai Masters 2019 Match Schedule
Tuesday September 10
Stuart Bingham v Liang Wenbo
David Gilbert v Cao Jin
Mark Williams v Shaun Murphy
Mark Selby v Jack Lisowski
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Zhang Yi
Kyren Wilson v Xiao Guodong