Mark Selby and Hossein Vafaei lock horns in the UK Championship for a third successive year when they collide in the Last 32 on Tuesday.
Both players are eyeing one of the final two available places in the last 16 at the York Barbican, where a showdown with Jack Lisowski awaits.
It will be the third time in as many years that Selby and Vafaei have collided in snooker’s second-most prestigious invitational event.
The Jester was a 6-2 winner when they met at this stage in 2020, with the Iranian exacting his revenge in the last 64 by the same scoreline 12 months later.
Selby is aiming to complete a hat-trick of UK titles, having lifted the trophy in 2012 and 2016, although he has advanced beyond this stage just twice since his latter triumph.
Nevertheless, he arrives in York off the back of a solid start to the season that has seen him reach the Champion of Champions semi-finals, as well as the quarter-finals of the British Open and Northern Ireland Open.
Meanwhile, Vafaei has matched his best performance of an eventful campaign, having also reached this stage in Belfast.
The reigning Shoot Out winner came flying out of the blocks this term as he produced the first maximum break of his career against three-time World Women’s champion Ng On Yee in qualifying for the European Masters.
However, he then controversially withdrew from the event on the eve of his scheduled clash with Xiao Guodong in Furth, and subsequently returned to Iran for some time away from the sport.
But he is now back in the swing of things following his run at the Northern Ireland Open, before making his Champion of Champions debut and qualifying for this event with a 6-4 win over Robbie Williams.
The winner of this match will play either Lisowski in the UK Championship last 16.
Play gets underway at 7pm GMT on Tuesday with the match contested over the best of 11 frames at the York Barbican.
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