Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui renew their friendly rivalry in a blockbuster 2023 UK Championship final on Sunday.
The friendly foes will engage in a mouth-watering battle at the York Barbican Centre, where the best of 19 frames will determine who walks away with the trophy and top prize of £250,000.
Both players find themselves in extremely familiar territory. As well as a huge level of mutual respect, they also share 10 UK titles and 14 final appearances between them.
Seven-time champion O’Sullivan is aiming to become the first player to win the same ranking tournament on eight occasions, while it would be his 40th ranking triumph overall.
The Rocket has endured a week of mixed fortunes in York. While reeling off six successive frames against Anthony McGill in round one – and four on the spin against Hossein Vafaei in the semi-finals – he was also forced to come through deciders against Robert Milkins and Zhou Yuelong.
The world number one boasts a dominant head-to-head record over Ding, having won 21 of their 29 previous meetings across all competitions.
Although, the Dragon has prevailed in both their previous UK Championship encounters – whitewashing the Rocket in last year’s quarter-finals, while he was a 6-4 winner in the last 16 on the way to his third title in 2019.
Ding is appearing in his second successive UK final – and fifth overall – having lost out to Mark Allen 10-7 from 6-1 up 12 months ago.
After coming through two qualifying rounds, he avenged that defeat by Allen as he dethroned the reigning champion, before overcoming Mark Williams and the in-form Judd Trump.
Only O’Sullivan, Steve Davis (six) and Stephen Hendry (five) have lifted this trophy more times than the Chinese ace, who will certainly embrace the opportunity to potentially close the gap with victory here.
Play at the York Barbican Centre gets under way at 1pm GMT on Sunday with the opening eight frames, before resuming with a maximum of 11 at 7pm when the 2023 UK Championship winner will be crowned.
How to watch O’Sullivan v Ding live stream
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4) Go to the Snooker menu and select ‘Watch Live’ next to the match in progress