Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter will renew their rivalry in the Quarter-Finals of the International Championship in Tianjin on Thursday.
The Essex duo have contested a host of high-profile encounters in a rivalry spanning more than 20 years, and will face off for the 19th time in professional competition.
O’Sullivan eased his way through his held over qualifying round match against Ken Doherty on Sunday, recovering from losing the first frame to reel off six in a row for a commanding victory.
He then hit back from 2-0 down to see off Mark Joyce 6-3 with the aid of three clinical century breaks, before dispatching Jak Jones 6-4 in the Last 16 and reeling off four frames in a row to overcame Anthony McGill 6-2 on Wednesday.
O’Sullivan’s tournament appearances have almost exclusively all come in China this season, with the exception of a Third Round exit at the English Open on home soil in Essex a month ago.
The Rocket retained the Shanghai Masters invitational title in September and was a quarter-finalist at the Wuhan Open, before withdrawing from the recent Northern Ireland Open.
The seven-time World Champion is making a fifth appearance in the International Championship – a first since 2017 – and has equalled his run to the Last Eight back in 2014.
Carter, meanwhile, is through to a second ranking event Quarter-Final of the season in China, having finished runner-up in the Wuhan Open last month.
The two-time world finalist, who was denied on both occasions by O’Sullivan, is vying to remain in contention for a sixth ranking title, having triumphed at the German Masters earlier this year.
Carter edged out John Astley in a deciding frame to get his campaign under way in Tianjin, before defeating 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham 6-4 and thrashing Daniel Wells 6-1.
He is now out to avenge his 6-3 defeat to ‘The Rocket’ in this season’s Shanghai Masters, but has ominously lost 17 of their 18 previous meetings, with his only head-to-head success coming in their infamous clash at the 2018 World Championship.
The match gets under way from 11.30am GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames, with either Ding Junhui or Zhang Anda awaiting the winner in the second Semi-Final on Saturday.
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