Newly crowned UK champion Zhao Xintong headlines the opening day of the 2021 World Grand Prix as he takes on Martin Gould at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
Less than 24 hours after Luca Brecel defeated John Higgins in the Scottish Open showpiece, the top 32 players on the one-year list begin competing for the final silverware of 2021.
Zhao made his big breakthrough in York earlier this month; beating Higgins, Jack Lisowski and Barry Hawkins before seeing off Brecel 10-5 in the final to seal a fairytale victory.
Eight days on, the world number nine plays his first match as a Triple Crown winner at an event where he is appearing for a fourth straight year.
Standing in his way is Gould, who snatched the final remaining spot after his run to the Scottish Open last 16.
This is the former German Masters champion’s sixth appearance, with his previous five yielding a semi-final and quarter-final.
Elsewhere, world number five Kyren Wilson is appearing for the seventh successive edition of the tournament.
A semi-finalist at the Champion of Champions and UK Championship, the Warrior faces Anthony Hamilton – with whom he famously shared six centuries in eight frames during their meeting in the 2016 China Open qualifiers.
Four years after his solitary World Grand Prix appearance, the Sheriff of Pottingham will be hoping for better fortunes this week, having been whitewashed 4-0 by Mark Allen just three days after claiming his maiden ranking title at the German Masters.
Last year’s finalist Jack Lisowski is looking to go one step better this time around, and put aside a difficult start to the season.
Indeed, other than his run to the UK Championship quarter-finals, Jackpot has won just four matches across the other six events he has entered so far.
He faces fellow left-hander and three-time World champion Mark Williams, who returns to the baize after missing the Scottish Open having demonstrated signs of extreme fatigue during the UK Championship following battles with gout and COVID-19.
In Monday’s other match, Yan Bingtao begins his quest to progress beyond round two of this event at the sixth time of asking.
The reigning Masters champion takes on former Northern Ireland Open winner Mark King, who qualified for a fourth appearance following his run to the English Open semi-finals.
Play gets underway at 7pm GMT, with all matches contested over the best of seven frames at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
World Grand Prix 2021 Day One Schedule
Monday December 13
Zhao Xintong v Martin Gould
Yan Bingtao v Mark King
Kyren Wilson v Anthony Hamilton
Mark Williams v Jack Lisowski