Ding Junhui looks to secure his place in the English Open main draw when he faces Ian Burns in Leicester on Thursday.
The 14-time ranking event winner aims to maintain his record of having qualified for every tournament this season when he collides with the world number 82 at the Morningside Arena.
World number 38 Ding is a two-time quarter-finalist at the Home Nations – both appearances coming within a few weeks of each other at the Northern Ireland Open and Scottish Open in 2020 – while he has reached the English Open fourth round in the last two years.
The Dragon will be targeting a similar run in this year’s event as he looks to claw his way back up the rankings.
Ding has only met Burns on one previous occasion, albeit nearly 10 years ago now. Although, he went on to lift the 2012 Scottish Open following his 4-1 victory over the Preston cueist in the quarter-finals.
Like Ding, Burns knows what it takes to reach the last eight of a Home Nations event; one of his two ranking quarter-final appearances coming at the 2018 Welsh Open.
The world number 82 has only reached the fourth round at two tournaments since then, though one of those came in this series at the Scottish Open a few months later as he overcame the likes of Matthew Selt and Mike Dunn before eventually losing to Judd Trump.
Though not necessarily brimming with confidence, Burns did snap a four-match losing streak with a 4-2 victory over Sanderson Lam in the pre-qualifying round on Wednesday, winning the last three frames from 2-1 down.
The winner of this match will play either Belfast finalist Zhou Yuelong or Xu Si in the English Open main draw at Brentwood Centre in December.
Play gets underway at 1pm BST with the match contested over the best of seven frames at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
How to watch Ding v Burns live stream
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The match is also available to watch live at Skybet; to access, simply:
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