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Stephen Hendry v Matthew Stevens live stream | Northern Ireland Open qualifier preview

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Stephen Hendry in action (Photo credit: Mike Egerton/PA Images/Alamy)

Stephen Hendry looks to record his first win in two years when he plays Matthew Stevens in the Northern Ireland Open qualifiers on Wednesday.

The seven-time Crucible king goes head to head with the former UK and Masters champion in one of the more eye-catching ties of the qualifying round at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield.

This will be the 26th meeting between the players since first facing off at the 1996 Grand Prix, where Stevens prevailed 5-1 against the then world number one.

The Welshman shades the head-to-head 13-12 after a dominant 5-0 whitewash in their most recent showdown at last season’s German Masters qualifiers.

Having contested the UK Championship final 20 years ago – Stevens winning 10-8 – they also have previous in Northern Ireland.

Indeed, they locked horns in the 2005 Northern Ireland Trophy final, with the Welshman coming through again a 9-7 victor.

Hendry is hoping it will not be unlucky 13 here, as he looks to end a streak of 12 straight defeats in competitive matches.

It is just over two years since the Scotsman defeated Michael White 4-1 at the English Open, and he will be desperate to get a victory on the board here.

Standing in his way, Stevens is hoping a strong run is not far away, having reached the British Open last 32 and Stage Two at the Championship League this season.

A run to the British Open last 16 represented his best performance of last term but, with an advantage in terms of match sharpness, the world number 48 will, nevertheless, be the favourite to progress here.

The winner of this match will play either David Gilbert or Joel Connolly in the main stages of the Northern Ireland Open next week.

Play gets under way at 7pm BST on Wednesday and will be contested over the best of seven frames at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield.

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