Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy go head to head in a mouth-watering Players Championship first-round clash in Wolverhampton on Tuesday.
Good friends off the table, the pair collide in a repeat of the 2021 World Championship final, which Selby won 18-5 to claim his fourth Crucible crown.
The Jester has prevailed in each of the last four encounters between the players, including a 4-3 win in the last 16 on his way to lifting the English Open in December.
Seeded seventh at Aldersley Leisure Village this week, Selby has enjoyed a return to form this season, having also reached the Champion of Champions semi-finals.
Although, his Players Championship record leaves a lot to be desired. Indeed, he was absent from last year’s event following a poor start to the 2021-22 season, while he has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals.
The world number two will also be hoping this is the week he finally ends an unwanted record, having failed to win any tournament televised on ITV despite an illustrious career.
Meanwhile, Murphy arrives fresh from narrowly missing out on the Welsh Open title on Sunday, having suffered a 9-7 defeat against Robert Milkins in the final.
Like Selby, the Magician is returning to the elite 16-man event, having not featured since 2020.
However, he does boast decent pedigree in the tournament. Indeed, he reached the semi-finals on his previous appearance, while he was runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan two years earlier.
The winner of this match will play Ryan Day in the quarter-finals of the Players Championship.
Play gets underway at 1pm GMT on Tuesday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton.
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