World number four Shaun Murphy faces a tricky encounter today, as he faces one of the home favourites, Yu Delu, in the first-round of the Shanghai Masters.
The 2005 world champion is the first top-16 player to take to the table in the tournament which returns to Shanghai’s Grand Stage for the seventh year running.
Murphy has endured a difficult start to the season which has seen him fail to qualify for the Wuxi Classic and Indian Open, although he did reach the semi-final of European Tour Event Three.
He was beaten in Doncaster by subsequent champion Ricky Walden for the third time in three months while he ran into John Higgins and Marco Fu in European Tour Event One and the Australian Open respectively.
Having been a wildcard at this event for three years running between 2007 and 2009, 25-year-old Delu qualified for Shanghai outright for the first time - beating the likes of Tony Drago and 1997 world champion Ken Doherty en-route.
The world number 50 has begun the season well, qualifying for Wuxi and India and also reached the quarter-finals of the first Asian Tour Event before being whitewashed 4-0 by 1994 Masters winner Alan McManus.
Asian Tour Event One winner Joe Perry is also in action against wildcard Wang Yuchen. There are also two all-Chinese encounters with Cao Yupeng facing Zhou Yuelong and Xiao Guodong takes on Yuan Siyun.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.