Masters draw: Neil Robertson kicks off defence against Shaun Murphy, Ronnie O’Sullivan faces Luca Brecel

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Neil Robertson will kick off the defence of his Masters title against Shaun Murphy, after the draw was made on Sunday.

The focus is still on the UK Championship, with Mark Allen and Ding Junhui battling it out in final, but the attention briefly shifted to the draw for the Masters at the mid-session interval of the first session at the Barbican in York.

Robertson won the Masters for the second time in 2022, beating Barry Hawkins in convincing fashion at the Alexandra Palace.

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The Australian has made a slow start to the current season, and will look to bounce back from his exit in the first round at the UK Championship when he faces 2015 champion Murphy.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, like the UK Championship and World Championship, has won more Masters titles than any other player.

His seventh came back in 2017, and he will begin his quest for an eighth against Luca Brecel.

“It is a good tournament,” O’Sullivan said in the Eurosport studio. “There are no easy matches. Any one of them is a final.

“It is the 16 best players in the world, which is great. It has always been a magical tournament, a great event.”

Ding’s name is in the draw, as a win would take him into the top 16 and into the Masters field at the expense of his fellow countryman Yan Bingtao, and should he topple Allen he will face two-time Masters champion Mark Williams.

Masters Draw

  • Mark Selby v Zhao Xintong
  • Judd Trump v Ryan Day
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan v Luca Brecel
  • John Higgins v Jack Lisowski
  • Neil Robertson v Shaun Murphy
  • Kyren Wilson v Stuart Bingham
  • Mark Allen v Barry Hawkins
  • Mark Williams v Yan Bingtao or Ding Junhui

The 2023 Masters gets underway at Alexandra Palace on January 8, with the final taking place on January 15.

– – –

Stream the 2023 Masters and more top snooker action live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch Seventh Heaven, a two-part show about Ronnie O’Sullivan’s historic World Championship win last season, on demand now.

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‘Not too late’ – Can Robertson solve the great Crucible mystery?

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