Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kyren Wilson face off in a box office Quarter-Final clash at the 2021 UK Championship in York on Friday.
A repeat of the 2020 World Championship final sees the fourth and fifth seeds collide as O’Sullivan aims to continue his dominant record over Wilson.
A tournament of shocks has seen a host of former UK Champions and current ranking title holders bow out in the early rounds, but two proven winners remain firmly in the running.
O’Sullivan is the only former UK Champion left standing in this year’s field and is looking to end his ranking title drought in the absence of a number of his key rivals.
The Rocket last tasted success in a televised tournament at the 2020 World Championship – when he demolished Wilson 18-8 in the final – and has subsequently lost in five finals.
O’Sullivan made his UK Championship debut back in 1992 and became the youngest winner of a ranking event at the age of 17 years and 358 days when he triumphed the following year – a record that still stands today.
O’Sullivan, who most recently lifted this trophy in 2018, was a semi-finalist in the recent English Open and quarter-finalist in the Champion of Champions – losing out to rival John Higgins on both occasions.
He began his latest campaign at the York Barbican with a 6-3 win over Michael White, before defeating Robbie Williams 6-2 and overcoming Mark King and Noppon Saengkham both by 6-3 scorelines.
Wilson, meanwhile, is appearing in his third UK Championship Quarter-Final in the space of four years but is yet to progress beyond this stage of the competition.
The four-time ranking event winner has come through his section of the draw in relatively straightforward fashion, defeating Iran’s Soheil Vahedi 6-2 before whitewashing Jak Jones and recording back-to-back 6-3 wins over Wu Yize and Ben Woollaston.
Wilson was a quarter-finalist in the recent English Open, where he became embroiled in a war of words with O’Sullivan after complaining about his matches being situated away from the TV table.
O’Sullivan said Wilson should “do the business” if he wants to stop being overlooked, and added: “I’m not saying Kyren is not exciting or anything or not a very good player, but I suppose more people will tune in to watch someone like Judd than they would Kyren.”
Wilson has lost six of his eight previous meetings with O’Sullivan, the most recent of which coming in the Quarter-Finals of the 2020 World Grand Prix.
Their latest encounter gets under way from 1pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames.
Either world number 16 Anthony McGill or former China Championship winner Luca Brecel will await the winner in Saturday’s Semi-Finals.
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