Ronnie O’Sullivan will look to let his cue do the talking when he faces Pang Junxu in the opening round of the World Grand Prix.
The Rocket headlines the evening’s action at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on Tuesday, less than 48 hours after claiming his record-extending eighth Masters title at Alexandra Palace.
But his 10-7 victory over Ali Carter has been overshadowed by the ongoing feud between the pair, sparked when the latter questioned O’Sullivan’s professionalism after accusing him of “snotting all over the floor”.
The world number one responded with an explosive tirade during his post-match press conference, in which he said Carter “needs to sort his f***ing life out”.
Although, the row appears far from over with the Captain saying ahead of his clash with Wu Yize earlier on Tuesday that he felt “a bit sorry” for his fellow Essex cueist, suggesting he was not “that well mentally”.
Nevertheless, O’Sullivan will now be focused on getting back to business as he targets a third World Grand Prix title, adding to his triumphs in 2018 and 2021.
It would also be the Rocket’s fourth silverware of the season, having added the Masters to his victories at the Shanghai Masters and UK Championship.
The first obstacle he must overcome in last season’s WST Classic runner-up Pang – a player he beat 10-7 in the opening round of the 2023 World Championship.
Despite qualifying for this event, the Chinese has struggled to build on the momentum of reaching his first ranking final this term; a run to the International Championship last 16 representing his best performance.
But he will be inspired by the fact his run to the WST Classic showpiece came at this very venue, while he has previously beaten O’Sullivan over a shorter format – doing so at the 2022 Championship League.
A showdown with three-time ranking event finalist Zhou Yuelong awaits the winner of this match in the second round.
Play gets underway at around 8pm GMT on Tuesday and will be contested over the best of seven frames at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
How to watch O’Sullivan v Pang live stream
18+ | Funded account required | Geo restrictions may apply | Please Gamble Responsibly
2) Register an account, place a £10 first bet and get £30 in Free Bets* (18+ only, T&Cs apply)
3) Once registered, go to the sports homepage and select ‘Snooker’ from the left-hand menu
4) Select the play icon next to the match in progress and the stream window will appear
*18+ only. New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £30* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5-£10* (*or currency equivalent) to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. Registration required. BeGambleAware.org