It’s a cracking line up for the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters and a terrific atmosphere is guaranteed for the encounter between Ronnie O’Sulivan and Ding Junhui.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s the biggest match ever staged in China: the world no.1 versus China’s top dog.
O’Sullivan is a controversial figure in the UK and Europe. Many love him and may loathe him.
In China, they almost universally love him for the excitement he generates and entertainment he provides.
I tend to side with the Chinese on this. Although Ronnie sometimes does things that are not to be defended I find it impossible to dislike him.
The roof may come off the Grand Stage later today whoever wins their contest. Let’s hope the snooker matches the hype.
For the first time, there are two Chinese born players in the quarter-finals of a ranking event. Liang Wenbo faces Ricky Walden, who is aiming to become the first player to successfully defend a world ranking title since O’Sullivan won the 2005 Welsh Open.
That’s a tough match to call but the same applies to all of the quarter-finals.
Shaun Murphy will start favourite against Ken Doherty but the Irishman has enjoyed a resurgence so far this season and, oozing class as he does, is well capable of going even further.
John Higgins has beaten Ryan Day six times out of eight but will need to be close to the top of his game to contain the talented Welshman again.
It all adds up to a fascinating day of snooker as the new season cranks into life.
Picking a winner is nigh on impossible.