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Ronnie O’Sullivan Launches Season in European Masters Draw

The Englishman hasn’t competed since lifting a sixth World Championship title in Sheffield last month.

Ronnie O’Sullivan will feature in this week’s European Masters draw as the first ranking event winner of the 2020/21 season is set to be crowned.

Taking place behind closed doors in Milton Keynes, the tournament boasts a high-quality field with all but two of the top 64 players in the world rankings taking part.



Neil Robertson is the defending champion, memorably hammering Zhou Yuelong 9-0 in the final in Austria earlier this year.

As BetVictor has come on board as the title sponsor, the competition will once again be included in the European Series this term.

And with the ongoing Championship League additionally being linked, it means that there are a total of six events on the series that was won last season by Judd Trump.

The player who earns the most money across the series this season will earn a handy £150,000 bonus.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are thrilled to once again join forces with BetVictor for the European Masters.”

“It’s an incredibly strong field with the top 49 players in the world rankings among the 128 in the line-up.

“There are also four exciting young amateur talents from continental Europe in the draw.

“Television viewers around the world will enjoy snooker returning to their screens with the 2020/21 season already underway.”

The European Masters will be contested over the best of nine frames up until the semi-finals.

Eleven frames will be used to determine the finalists who will ultimately compete over the best of 17 frames for the title.

A handsome champion’s cheque worth £80,000 is on offer for the player who can emerge triumphantly next Sunday at the MK Arena.

Robertson begins his defense with a tricky opener against Akani Songsermsawad from Thailand, while Trump meets 14 year-old Ukrainian rookie Iulian Boiko.

Crucible champion O’Sullivan, meanwhile, will kick start his campaign against Welshman Daniel Wells just over a month after his World Championship success in Sheffield.

The likes of Mark Selby, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy, and Kyren Wilson are also among those in action in the European Masters draw.

Contrary to how the Championship League was run over the course of the last week in Milton Keynes, players and officials are expected to be tested for COVID-19 before being able to safely participate in the European Masters.

That will mean that Anthony Hamilton, who has been the most vocal opponent to how the sport’s bosses have handled a lot of their coronavirus-related decisions, should be competing following his recent withdrawals from both the World Championship and the Championship League.

Hamilton has drawn Michael Holt in the first round while a couple of the other intriguing opening-round fixtures include Selby’s bout against Michael White – playing as an amateur top-up after failing to regain his pro status through Q School – and Ding’s battle with fellow Chinese cueist Yuan Sijun.

Murphy faces Liang Wenbo in arguably the tie of the round and Stuart Bingham entertains the improving Louis Heathcote.

Mark Allen, Stephen Maguire, Yan Bingtao, and World Championship semi-finalist Anthony McGill will be others hoping to challenge at the business end in a week’s time.

Live coverage is on Eurosport and other platforms around the world.

Click here to view the European Masters draw (Times: CET)

Featured photo credit: WST



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Players Championship – won by John Higgins.

1. Judd Trump
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. Neil Robertson
4. Mark Selby
5. John Higgins
6. Kyren Wilson
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Ding Junhui
10. Jack Lisowski
11. Mark Allen
12. Yan Bingtao
13. Mark Williams
14. Stuart Bingham
15. Barry Hawkins
16. Anthony McGill

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