So the UK Championship is here with six matches to kick off day one at the Barbican Centre in York.
The last time Ding Junhui played Ryan Day, earlier this year, he lost his 9-5 lead and was beaten 10-9 by the Welshman in the first round of the World Championship.
Ding then proved his English was improving by letting slip some choice Anglo Saxon at the post match press conference, for which he was fined.
Stephen Hendry said in his BBC preview that Ding was a much better player than his ranking, which I think most people would agree with. He’s won this title twice before but does seem to be very inconsistent. Day, though, is coming to York off the back of a long and ultimately disappointing 5-4 defeat to Dave Harold in the German Masters qualifiers yesterday.
John Higgins, a three times winner, starts things off against Michael Holt, who yesterday did qualify for Berlin.
I was in Bournemouth in 1998 when Higgins won his first UK title amid a backstage atmosphere so politically poisonous that wearing a gas mask was advisable. What golden days they were.
John was a young man then, just 22 but already world champion. It was before marriage or fatherhood.
In fact, he got married just after he won the UK in 2000 and it took him ten more years to win it again but he heads to York in great form and as one of the handful of favourites.
Holt has beaten him twice, including in a PTC final, but Higgins has won their TV meetings.
Liang Wenbo impressed me in qualifying and played well yesterday but was beaten 5-3 by Graeme Dott in the German prelims.
Liang was a quarter-finalist in the UK Championship three years ago before his form collapsed. He faces Barry Hawkins, back in the top 16 at last, today and has every reason to feel confident of causing an upset.
Fergal O’Brien is appearing in the final stages of the UK Championship for the first time in nine years. In that 2003 event he ended the remarkable record of Mark Williams, who had successfully negotiated his opening round match in 48 consecutive ranking tournaments.
Fergal endured a late and ultimately disappointing evening last night when he lost in the German Masters. He has never beaten Stephen Maguire, who played so brilliantly to sweep to the title in York in 2004.
Tonight, young Michael White plays what must rank as the biggest match of his career against Mark Selby.
White has been very impressive this season, qualifying for the final stages of three of the first five ranking events. However, the TV set up is new to him and he can be forgiven for being nervous.
Selby, whose best effort in this tournament was a semi-final place in 2007, is usually pretty reliable in early round matches but a shock can’t be completely discounted.
Today’s other match sees Dott face Martin Gould, who may feel less pressure now he is out of the top 16 than he clearly did while he was part of the elite.
The BBC’s network coverage starts at 1pm, with one table on the red button from 11. Eurosport begin at 11.30 (all times UK) and there is online coverage too.
However you are watching, particularly if travelling to York, then enjoy the week. The UK Championship remains one of the jewels in the snooker crown and whoever wins this year will be joining an illustrious roll of honour.