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Jimmy White has tipped Ronnie O’Sullivan to make a big impact at this week’s International Championship in China.
The world champion has again kept a fairly sparse schedule in 2013, with the event in Chengdu his first since lifting the his fifth Crucible title in May and his entry came as surprise to some after he hinted that from now on he may only elect to play in the sport’s showpiece event in Sheffield.
However, he has kept himself sharp by playing a number of exhibition matches, most recently against one of his great heroes White and he will now have his first taste of tournament action against world number four Anthony McGill.
The competition is one of the biggest on the calendar and with the likes of John Higgins, Neil Robertson and defending champion Judd Trump also in the field, it is sure to be an extremely exciting few days of snooker.
Of course Ding Junhui is the big favourite going into the event and will be desperate to once again impress his home fans in China after recently claiming the Shanghai Masters in September.
White admits that Ding could be the man to beat on home soil but believes that despite his lack of competitive play, O’Sullivan will still be able to challenge him.
“I played in an exhibition with Ronnie recently and he is in good form. He is up for the tournament and wants to do his best,” White told BBC Sport. “Ronnie is looking very dangerous and wants to play a lot of snooker this season. But in China, his main rival will be Ding.”