Ronnie O’Sullivan resumes his quest for a maiden Northern Ireland Open title when he faces Alfie Burden in the third round on Wednesday.
The Rocket has been runner-up at this event in each of the last three years, losing 9-7 to Judd Trump on every occasion.
O’Sullivan has made a solid start to his mission to go the extra step in Belfast, dropping just a single frame in his victories over Stuart Carrington and Andy Hicks.
Although, the six-time World champion sparked controversy following his win over the latter, criticising the “flat” atmosphere inside the Waterfront Hall.
In the meantime, he will look to let his snooker do the talking against veteran Burden, who returned to the tour this season after a year-long absence.
Incredibly – despite the two players now boasting a combined total of 55 seasons on the professional circuit – this will be their first-ever competitive showdown.
Elsewhere, reigning champion Trump will look to record his 24th consecutive victory at this tournament against China’s Lu Ning – and what will be a repeat of last season’s UK Championship semi-final, which he won 6-2.
Having survived match-ball black against Cao Yupeng in round two, World champion Mark Selby will be hoping to avoid that situation when he faces either British Open runner-up Gary Wilson or Rory McLeod.
Shaun Murphy is also awaiting the identity of his third-round opponent, with Chris Wakelin and Tian Pengfei doing battle to earn a showdown with the Crucible finalist.
British Open winner Mark Williams, currently suffering from gout, will look to push his way through the pain barrier once more against compatriot Jak Jones, while Stuart Bingham aims to book a fourth-round place at the Northern Ireland Open for the first time when he takes on Ashley Carty.
Four-time World champion John Higgins looks to make it four wins from four against Luca Brecel, as Kyren Wilson and Yan Bingtao face Mitchell Mann and Oliver Lines respectively.
Play begins at 10am BST on Wednesday with all matches contested over the best of seven frames at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
Northern Ireland Open 2021 Day Five Schedule
Wednesday October 13
26 Liam Highfield v Ryan Day
29 Chris Wakelin v Tian Pengfei
50 Rory McLeod v Gary Wilson
62 Mark King v Lyu Haotian
63 Kyren Wilson v Mitchell Mann
64 John Higgins v Luca Brecel
60 Ronnie O’Sullivan v Alfie Burden
61 Yan Bingtao v Oliver Lines
65 Mark Williams v Jak Jones
53 Jimmy Robertson v James Cahill
57 Stuart Bingham v Ashley Carty
67 Mark Selby v Gary Wilson/Rory McLeod
52 Judd Trump v Lu Ning
56 Shaun Murphy v Chris Wakelin/Tian Pengfei
66 David Gilbert v Louis Heathcote