After Judd Trump and Neil Robertson reached the final of the German Masters on Saturday, the complete World Grand Prix draw became clearer.
The pair of snooker superstars may be contesting a showpiece title decider in Berlin today but there’ll be no opportunity for a rest as the next ranking event begins with a bang on Monday in Cheltenham.
The World Grand Prix draw comprises the top 32 players on the one-year rankings list, with reigning champion Trump representing the top seed.
There have been ten ranking events this season so far and the world champion has won three of them, with a fourth possible come the climax at the Tempodrom.
Trump faces Li Hang in the first round at the Centaur, the Chinese competitor hanging onto the last qualifying spot after none of the chasing pack managed to force their way into the running in Germany.
Should the world number one emerge as expected, he will be involved in an interesting second round tie against either rival Kyren Wilson or close friend Jack Lisowski.
As the World Grand Prix draw boasts only the most in-form cueists from this term, there are plenty of intriguing fixtures to be excited about.
Ronnie O’Sullivan makes his maiden appearance of the new decade but faces a tricky opener in David Gilbert.
The World Grand Prix is the first tournament in the Coral Cup series, with the top 16 in the order of merit later qualifying for the Players Championship before an eight-man Tour Championship in March.
O’Sullivan is the defending champion in both of the latter events but is currently adrift of the top 16 in the one-year list following a rare barren spell.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Robertson is the man in the most form with back-to-back appearances in finals under his belt.
The 37 year-old meets Michael Holt in the last 32 before a possible clash against either Mark Williams or 2017 winner Barry Hawkins.
The top half of the draw features a number of other matches that conjure up compelling story lines.
John Higgins and Stuart Bingham encounter each other in a battle of former world champions while young Chinese duo Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong have been paired with one another too.
UK champion Ding Junhui faces Scott Donaldson, a challenger he would normally be expected to overcome but one who he has surprisingly lost to twice in the last couple of weeks.
Joe Perry and Ali Carter’s encounter could have huge connotations in the Race to the Crucible, as both attempt to safeguard spots in the elite top 16 of the world rankings.
The bottom half of the World Grand Prix draw is equally impressive, with the likes of Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, and Mark Allen involved.
Selby is in action against Xiao Guodong on the opening day and second seed Murphy meets Matthew Stevens in a repeat of the 2005 World Championship final.
The winner of Allen’s match with Liang Wenbo, who has offered his prize money from this tournament to charity in support of the efforts to combat the coronavirus in China, could face the “Rocket” in the next round.
UK Championship runner-up Stephen Maguire and his fellow Scot Graeme Dott face Tom Ford and Kurt Maflin respectively.
Finally, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh’s excellent season so far has been rewarded with a seventh seeding and the Thai takes on Matthew Selt, with Gary Wilson playing Zhou Yuelong.
The first two rounds in the World Grand Prix are played over the sprint best of seven format, which could make predictions a little more difficult.
With £100,000 on offer for the champion next week, it’s sure to be a fiercely contested competition.
World Grand Prix Draw (L32)
Judd Trump vs Li Hang
Kyren Wilson vs Jack Lisowski
John Higgins vs Stuart Bingham
Yan Bingtao vs Zhao Xintong
Neil Robertson vs Michael Holt
Mark Williams vs Barry Hawkins
Joe Perry vs Ali Carter
Ding Junhui vs Scott Donaldson
Mark Selby vs Xiao Guodong
Graeme Dott vs Kurt Maflin
David Gilbert vs Ronnie O’Sullivan
Mark Allen vs Liang Wenbo
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Matthew Selt
Stephen Maguire vs Tom Ford
Zhou Yuelong vs Gary Wilson
Shaun Murphy vs Matthew Stevens
— Bozena Kucharska (@lovselby) February 2, 2020