Dafabet English Open: Rocket faces Zhang test


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Ronnie O’Sullivan will get his Dafabet English Open campaign underway with a first-round match against Zhang Anda on Tuesday.

The Rocket has once again been selective in what events he participates in at the start of the season, as this will be just his second ranking event of the campaign, following on from his run to the quarter-finals of the China Championship in August.

The five-time world champion, who reached the third round of the English Open 12 months ago, will fancy his chances of progressing through against world number 66 Zhang, as he won their only previous meeting 4-0 at last year’s Northern Ireland Open.

The 41-year-old is priced at 1.08 to see off the challenge of Zhang, who is available at 6.00 to cause a first-round upset at Barnsley Metrodome.

O’Sullivan is not the only big-name player in first round action on Tuesday evening, as 2010 world champion Neil Robertson is scheduled to face England’s Billy Joe Castle in his opening match of the tournament.

Australian Robertson is yet to make it beyond the third-round of a ranking event this season and his progress against Castle is not guaranteed, particularly as the world number 105 made it through to the third round of last week’s European Masters, his best performance in a ranking event to date.

Other notable matches during Tuesday’s evening session will see former world number one Mark Williams, who has returned to form this season, take on Englishman David Grace, while 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon will tackle Ben Woollaston.

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