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Ronnie O'Sullivan v Liang Wenbo - Shanghai Masters 2016 Round One preview and tips: Rocket eyeing winning return

Jamie Shaw 20 Sep 2016
Ronnie O'Sullivan of England shakes hands with Liang Wenbo of China (credit:Credit by bettingpro)

Ronnie O'Sullivan aims to mark his first appearance of the 2016-17 campaign with victory over home favourite Liang Wenbo in the opening round of the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday.

O'Sullivan has not featured in a televised tournament since his early exit at the Crucible in April but returns to Shanghai in an attempt to become the first player to lift this trophy on more than one occasion.



The Rocket famously clinched this title by denying the then 22-year-old Liang in the final back in 2009, and the Chinese ace will be eyeing revenge on home soil this time around.

O'Sullivan has kept his eye in by featuring in a number of exhibition events in recent months, including a series of challenge matches against Judd Trump, but all eyes will be on how he fares back in front of the television cameras.

His last major title came in February's Welsh Open, where he produced a now infamous 146 break, and it's anyone's guess at what mentality the five-time World Champion will be in for what is only his third appearance in this event since that triumph seven years ago.

Liang, last December's UK Championship runner-up, recorded a 5-3 win over Hu Hao in the Wildcard Round on Monday and will enter this tie quietly confident of defying the odds.

The world number 19 reached the Quarter-Finals of the recent Six Reds Championship, but has ultimately struggled to make an impact in ranking tournaments since his dream run to the final in York at the turn of the year.

Liang's 6-4 win over O'Sullivan in Round One of the 2013 International Championship (the last time they met) is his only success against the Chigwell ace in five attempts since 2008.

Given O'Sullivan's lack of competitive match practice this season and home hero Liang's undoubted calibre, this has the makings of a close-run contest with a host of high breaks in the offing.

The match gets underway from 12.30pm BST and will be contested over the best of nine frames at the Shanghai Grand Stage. Either defending champion Kyren Wilson or Riga Masters runner-up Michael Holt will await the winner in the last 16 later in the week.


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Ronnie O'Sullivan v Liang Wenbo - Shanghai Masters 2016 Round One preview and tips: Rocket eyeing winning return

Ronnie O'Sullivan aims to mark his first appearance of the 2016-17 campaign with victory over home favourite Liang Wenbo in the opening round of the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday.

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