Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump will renew their intense 14-year rivalry in the first round of the Players Championship in Wolverhampton (February 7-13) with the starting line-up confirmed following the conclusion of the German Masters in Berlin.
The top 16 players on the one-year list qualify automatically for the elite event at Aldersley Leisure Village in the chase for the £125,000 top prize.
World Grand Prix winner and world No. 2 O'Sullivan is seeded third for the tournament with world number three Trump at 14th.
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The pair first met in the last 32 of the 2008 Welsh Open with six-times world champion and double Players champion O'Sullivan winning 5-3 in Newport.
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Trump is 15-13 clear on the career head-to-heads having won their past three meetings – including two 9-7 final wins in the 2019 and 2020 Northern Ireland Open finals respectively – with O'Sullivan victorious in an epic 10-9 semi-final victory at the 2019 Tour Championship.
Trump lifted the prestigious Champions of Champions event in November, but his best form in ranking tournaments has been three quarter-final appearances so far this season.
The bottom half of the draw is a minefield with the winner of the O'Sullivan v Trump match facing Masters champion Neil Robertson or world No. 5 Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals.
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World No. 4 Robertson and Wilson clash in a repeat of their recent Champion of Champions encounter that the 2020 world finalist Wilson won 6-4.
Defending champion John Higgins – who lifted the trophy with a 10-3 victory over O'Sullivan in last year's final – meets Iran's recent Shoot Winner Hossein Vafaei while Scottish Open winner Luca Brecel faces former European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson.
UK and German Masters champion and top seed Zhao Xintong – fresh from his remarkable 9-0 whitewash of Yan Bingtao in Berlin – takes on recent Masters finalist Barry Hawkins while Mark Williams and Gary Wilson clash in a repeat of the British Open final that three-times world champion Williams edged 6-4.
Berlin finalist Yan faces Championship League winner David Gilbert in the top section with Northern Ireland Open holder Mark Allen confronting German Masters semi-finalist Ricky Walden.
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All matches are contested over the best of 11 frames before a best-of-19 frame final on Sunday 13 February.
World champion and world No. 1 Mark Selby needed to reach the quarter-finals of the German Masters to keep alive his hopes of qualifying for the Players, but a 5-4 loss to Yan in the last 16 ended his automatic hopes.
Unless there is a late withdrawal, 17th-ranked Selby will not participate at the tenth ranking event of the campaign with Stephen Maguire, Stuart Bingham, Ding Junhui, Anthony McGill, Shaun Murphy and Jack Lisowski other notable names to miss out.
2022 Players Championship draw
- Zhao Xintong (1) v Barry Hawkins (16)
- David Gilbert (8) v Yan Bingtao (9)
- Mark Allen (5) v Ricky Walden (12)
- Mark Williams (4) v Gary Wilson (13)
- Ronnie O'Sullivan (3) v Judd Trump (14)
- Neil Robertson (6) v Kyren Wilson (11)
- John Higgins (7) v Hossein Vafaei (10)
- Luca Brecel (2) v Jimmy Robertson (15)
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