Judd Trump begins his quest to complete a hat-trick of Players Championship titles when he faces Ali Carter in the first round on Tuesday.
The Ace is the joint-most successful player since the tournament was introduced to the calendar in 2017 – along with Ronnie O’Sullivan (also a two-time champion) – winning the inaugural edition that year while also triumphing in 2020.
An ever-present in the elite event, the reigning Masters champion sealed his return to Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton with a run to the World Grand Prix final last month, when he eventually succumbed 10-9 to Mark Allen having recovered from 7-2 down.
But despite his impressive Players Championship record, he has suffered first-round exits in each of the last two years – something he will be desperate to address this time around.
Although, Trump has prevailed in his last three meetings with Carter (excluding the Championship League and WST Pro Series), including a 10-6 victory in the 2019 World Grand Prix, while he has also gone on to win the respective tournament following his other two wins over the Captain at the 2017 Players Championship and last year’s Turkish Masters.
However, Carter was victorious in arguably their biggest clash when he stunned his opponent 13-12 in the second round of the 2012 World Championship.
Seeded fifth this week, the 43-year-old is set for only his third appearance in the tournament – and first since 2019 – following a season that has seen him return to the world’s top 16.
That was sealed with his second German Masters title earlier this month, as well as a run to the European Masters semi-finals earlier in the campaign.
With the World Championship now less than two months away, the world number 15 will be eager to enjoy another couple of deep runs while avoiding early exits to ensure he travels to the Crucible as a seeded player.
The winner of this match will play either Robert Milkins or Tom Ford in the quarter-finals of the Players Championship.
Play gets underway at 7pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton.
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