China’s Xu Si will bid to end a four-match losing streak when he takes on Mohammad Bilal in the first round of the World Games on Wednesday.
Si became World Under-21 Champion in 2016 and that victory secured him a two-year card on the World Snooker Tour but so far the step up in class has proven to be tough for the Chinese youngster.
The 19-year-old claimed an impressive win over two-time world champion Mark Williams at the wildcard stage of the International Championship last year but 2017 has been trickier.
Si fell at the first hurdle in World Championship qualifying back in April, before going down in qualifying ahead for the Riga Masters in June and then slumping to a 5-1 defeat to Judd Trump at the China Championship.
Si has a chance to claim a first win since turning professional against Bilal but the Pakistani amateur player arrives in good form and won’t roll over easily.
Bilal reached the semi-finals of the Asian 6-Red Snooker Championship in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, earlier this month but lost out to compatriot and eventual champion Muhammad Sajjad.
There is great incentive for both players to win as they cannot meet two-time World Championship runner-up Ali Carter until the last four, and top ranked player Kyren Wilson is in the other half of the draw.
Both players will see this clash as an excellent opportunity but the pressure is arguably on Si as he seeks a first professional win after claiming the Under-21 world title.