Mark Allen and Ding Junhui face off in a repeat of the UK Championship final as they open up the 2023 Tour Championship in Hull on Monday.
A re-run of last November’s UK Championship decider sees Ding bidding for revenge over ‘The Pistol’ in an identical format.
Allen prevailed 10-7 in York to claim his first UK Championship title and continue his sensational season, having also picked up the Northern Ireland Open and World Grand Prix titles.
The Antrim ace subsequently heads to Hull as the number one seed and runaway leader at the top of the one-year ranking list and is also chasing down the £150,000 Duelbits Series bonus behind Shaun Murphy.
Allen has featured in all but one of the four previous stagings of the Tour Championship to date, notably finishing runner-up to Stephen Maguire in 2020.
Ding, on the other hand, is making his debut in this prestigious competition, having secured the eighth and final spot in the field.
The Chinese star is the only player of the eight not to have picked up a ranking title this season, but did triumph at the recent Six Red World Championship in Thailand.
Aside from his run to the final of the UK Championship, Ding has struggled to make inroads in ranking competition this season and has lost in the opening round of his last four ranked tournaments.
The three-time UK Champion was also beaten 4-3 by Allen in the English Open in December but has the upper-hand in terms of their overall head-to-head record, with ten wins from their 16 previous meetings.
The match gets under way from 1pm BST for a total of eight frames, before resuming to a finish from 7pm over the best of 19 frames.
Either German Masters champion Ali Carter or European Masters champion Kyren Wilson will await the winner in the Semi-Finals on Friday.
How to watch Allen v Ding live stream
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