Mark Allen and John Higgins will face off for the third time in as many months with a place in the German Masters quarter-finals at stake.
The friendly foes collide on Thursday in arguably the standout tie of the round at the Tempodrom in Berlin.
It is just over three weeks since the pair went head to head in the opening round of the Masters, with Allen producing a break of 86 in the deciding frame to edge out a despondent Higgins.
That made it three wins on the spin for the Pistol, who was also a 6-2 victor in this season’s Champion of Champions semi-finals on the way to lifting the trophy, while he also prevailed 9-8 in their epic Northern Ireland Open final of 2021.
Neither player can boast the strongest German Masters record.
Higgins has never been past this stage since the event was introduced to the calendar in 2011, while Allen’s 2022 semi-final appearance represents his only previous venture beyond the last 16.
The Pistol is targeting his third silverware of the season, having also won the Shoot Out in December.
Although despite victories over Manasawin Phetmalaikul, Louis Heathcote and Joe O’Connor, the world number three has cut a frustrated figure this week.
Against Thailand’s Phetmalaikul, who he scraped past in a decider, he conceded a frame while still being able to tie, and then gave the table an almighty thump after missing a routine red during his 5-2 win over former Scottish Open finalist O’Connor.
Meanwhile Higgins, who received a bye in the last 64 following Martin Gould’s withdrawal, has recorded a pair of 5-3 victories over Daniel Wells and Zhou Yuelong.
The Scotsman has reached three semi-finals this season at the English Open, European Masters and Scottish Open but, with the prospect of having to qualify for the World Championship looming large, he would love to convert those deep runs into silverware.
The winner of this match will play either Judd Trump or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the German Masters quarter-finals.
Play gets under way at 2pm GMT on Thursday and will be contested over the best of nine frames at the Tempodrom in Berlin.
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