Graeme Dott to play Marco Fu is not the draw Ronnie O’Sullivan would have chosen for himself at the Shanghai Masters.
He hasn’t beaten Dott in over four years and is 8-8 on career meetings with Fu.
However, O’Sullivan is capable of sublime snooker anywhere against anyone and has already started the season in impressive fashion, making three straight centuries at the Premier League last week.
Ronnie injured his back on arriving in China but has been practising without any apparent problem.
It’s a myth to suggest O’Sullivan never does well in China. He’s won the China Open twice and was runner-up in Shanghai last season.
He starts the new campaign trailing John Higgins in the provisional rankings. Don’t be fooled into thinking he doesn’t have pride when it comes to the world no.1 spot: he’d love to keep it for another year.
First up it’s Shaun Murphy against Michael Holt.
Many people feel that Murphy is a good bet for a long run in most events. Then again, they say the same about Mark Selby and he was a first round loser yesterday.
Mark Allen against Matthew Stevens should be interesting although, alas, it is not on TV.
In fact, Selby, Allen and Ali Carter – who went to Shanghai early to promote the tournament – have all been put on non-TV tables.
If snooker really wants to foreground these players then they need to be in front of the cameras more.