Ronnie O’Sullivan begins his quest for a German Masters return with a clash against Hossein Vafaei in the opening qualifying round on Monday.
O’Sullivan, German Masters champion in 2012, last appeared in the prestigious ranking tournament four years ago and is bidding to make a successful return to Berlin’s Tempodrom.
The six-time World Champion must win two qualifying matches in Cannock this week if he is to book his place in the main draw come January.
O’Sullivan is competing in only his third event of the season, having pulled out midway through the Championship League before suffering a Third Round defeat to Yan Bingtao in the recent Northern Ireland Open.
The world number three last tasted success in a ranking tournament at the 2020 World Championship and has subsequently lost in five finals.
He takes on Iran’s Vafaei for only the second time in professional competition, having prevailed 4-1 when the pair initially met in the Last 32 of the 2019 English Open.
Vafaei has been a regular on the tour since 2016 and has three ranking Semi-Finals to his name – most recently the 2019 China Championship.
World Amateur Champion a decade ago, Vafaei climbed to a career-high ranking of 31 in September 2019 but has since dropped to 60th.
His best performance of the season so far saw him reach the Last 16 of the British Open in August, defeating Mark Allen along the way before losing out to eventual runner-up Gary Wilson.
The match gets under way from 7pm BST and will be contested over the best of nine frames.
Either Steven Hallworth or Andrew Higginson will await the winner in the second qualifying round on Tuesday.
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