Box office stars Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump renew their rivalry in the opening round of the 2022 Players Championship on Tuesday.
The duo have claimed two Players Championship titles apiece during the five-year history of the event and will lock horns in a mouth-watering First Round tie at the Aldersley Leisure Village.
The seedings for the Players Championship are based solely on the one-year ranking list, meaning third-placed O’Sullivan runs into 14th seed Trump at an unusually early stage of a ranking event.
In fact, this will be the first time the pair have ever met in the opening round of a ranking tournament.
O’Sullivan ended his mini title drought at the World Grand Prix in December, ending a run of five consecutive ranking final defeats by overcoming Neil Robertson 10-8 to clinch his 38th career ranking title.
O’Sullivan was beaten by eventual champion Robertson in the Quarter-Finals of last month’s Masters but failed to qualify for the Championship League Play-Offs last week after finishing sixth in his group.
Back-to-back winner of this event in 2018 and 2019, ‘The Rocket’ has reached the final in three of his four previous appearances, including last year in Milton Keynes – where he was denied a hat-trick of titles by ‘Class of 92’ rival John Higgins.
Trump claimed the inaugural Players Championship title in 2017 and doubled his tally in 2020 – following which he has gone on to win a further six ranking events and take his overall title tally to 22.
The world number three picked up the Champion of Champions title last November but is yet to open his ranking title account this season so far, with a trio of Quarter-Finals signalling his joint best run.
Trump was narrowly edged out 6-5 by Barry Hawkins in the Semi-Finals of The Masters and will be determined to continue his dominant recent head-to-head record against O’Sullivan.
Trump has won five of their last six meetings, including two Northern Ireland Open finals, and the 32-year-old now edges the overall head-to-head standings with 13 wins from their 25 encounters in total.
Reigning Masters Champion Neil Robertson will await the winner in the Quarter-Finals later in the week.
The match gets under way from 7pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames, with a live stream available in the UK and various other regions worldwide.
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