Ronnie O’Sullivan could face his bitter rival Ali Carter in his first match of the season after the draw for the Shanghai Masters set up a potential second round meeting.
Carter will need to beat a Chinese wildcard player to earn the right to face the defending champion in what could be another match full of needle.
O’Sullivan snapped after a famous barging incident during his 13-9 World Championship defeat to Carter in 2018, later dubbing him ‘Mr Angry’.
But Shanghai has been a happy hunting ground for the former world number one and he has won the event three times, including in each of the last two years.
O’Sullivan cannot meet Judd Trump before the final as they are in separate halves of the draw with the world champion set to open up against either David Gilbert or another wildcard.
All eyes will be on Yan Bingtao after the Chinese teenager clinched his first ranking event in July at the Riga Masters.
Yan the Man was knocked out in the second round of the International Championship earlier this month by Shaun Murphy and has been given a tough first round task after drawing Barry Hawkins.
Murphy is the 14th seed and will meet another home-based talent in Lyu Haotian in his first rounder and it won’t be easy as the 21-year-old won his maiden ranking title this year at the Indian Open.
Trump won his first title of the year in Daqing when he clinched the International Championship and the left-hander is 4.00 to finish the season as world champion again in 2020.