Oct 18, 3:24 am

Ronnie O’Sullivan will begin the defence of his Dafabet Masters title against Liang Wenbo at Alexandra Palace in London next month.

Crowd favourite O’Sullivan won his sixth Masters title last season by thrashing Barry Hawkins 10-1 in the final. This time he’ll face a tough opening tie against China’s Liang, who recently won his first ranking title at the English Open.

That will be the opening match of the tournament at 1pm on Sunday January 15.

Snooker’s most prestigious invitation event runs from January 15 to 22 and it has been staged at Alexandra Palace since 2012.

World Champion Mark Selby will start his bid to win a fourth Masters title when he faces Mark Williams on January 18.

Here’s the full first round draw:

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Liang Wenbo – Sunday January 15, 1pm

Neil Robertson v Ali Carter – Tuesday January 17, 7pm

Judd Trump v Marco Fu – Tuesday January 17, 1pm

John Higgins v Mark Allen – Monday January 16, 1pm

Stuart Bingham v Joe Perry – Monday January 16, 7pm

Ding Junhui v Kyren Wilson – Sunday January 15, 7pm

Shaun Murphy v Barry Hawkins – Wednesday January 18, 7pm

Mark Selby v Mark Williams – Wednesday January 18, 1pm

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