Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump are in the World Open draw, which gets under way on Monday at the Yushan Number One Middle School in China.
A hefty top prize of £150,000 is on offer for the champion in what is the fifth ranking tournament of the 2019/20 snooker season.
Trump and O’Sullivan must first contest their held over preliminary round fixtures, with the world champion in action against Zhang Jiankang on day one.
Shanghai Masters winner O’Sullivan faces veteran Dominic Dale before a potential last 64 clash against another stalwart in Fergal O’Brien.
The World Open draw is littered with several heavy hitters but not among them is the defending champion Mark Williams.
The Welshman, who memorably fought back from 9-5 down to deny David Gilbert in a decider last year, opted to skip the event on this occasion.
Recent English Open champion Mark Selby is in the field, though, with a tricky opening task against Anthony Hamilton to come.
John Higgins and Mark Allen both await winners of other held over fixtures, while Barry Hawkins entertains Marco Fu and Kyren Wilson faces Robbie Williams.
The in-form Shaun Murphy, who has reached three finals in China so far this term, takes on Alan McManus in the first round while 2018 runner-up Gilbert begins his road to redemption against Zhao Xintong.
For the first time since 2016, there are no Chinese players in the top 16 of the world rankings list so there will be plenty of attention on how the competitors on home soil fare.
The World Open represents the last ranking event that Ding Junhui triumphed in – back in 2017 – and he’ll be desperate to find even a sniff of his old self as he struggles to get out of this long rut he has dug himself into.
By contrast, Yan Bingtao’s fortunes are on the rise and the Riga Masters champion was briefly inside the elite bracket before dropping out again following an early exit in Crawley.
Both Ding and Yan have had their qualifying ties held over to the main venue and a victory over Billy Joe Castle for the former would guarantee a spot in the last 32 after his scheduled future opponent Liam Highfield withdrew through illness.
The likes of Liang Wenbo, Xiao Guodong, Zhou Yuelong, Mei Xiwen, Lyu Haotian, Li Hang, and numerous other Chinese cueists will be seeking to make an impact too.
The inclusion of Stephen Maguire, Stuart Bingham, and Jack Lisowski in the World Open draw means that there is plenty of star quality on display.
Worth also mentioning is Thepchaiya Un-Nooh’s success in the Haining Open on Saturday and the talented, if unpredictable, Thai could carry that form forward into this week’s ranking event.
Who will be triumphant in Yushan?
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) October 26, 2019
An interesting subplot to proceedings over the next few days will be the race to secure the last available spot in November’s Champion of Champions.
Fifteen out of the 16 places in Coventry have been nailed down, with the World Open acting as the last event that counts towards the lucrative invitational.
A repeat winner – that is, somebody winning the World Open who has already qualified for the Champion of Champions – would result in world seniors champion Jimmy White being offered the last position.