x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

King looking to upset White again

Mark King faces a player he beat on his Wembley debut when he takes on the popular Jimmy White at the prestigious invitational Masters event.

LONDON // Mark King faces a player synonymous with the Masters when he takes on the popular Jimmy White at the prestigious invitational event at the Wembley arena in London today. King made his Wembley debut in 1999 when he lined up against White. King won that first-round contest 6-5 before bowing out in the quarter-finals. "It's superb, the first time I ever played there I beat Jimmy in front of 2,000 people. I had about 400 friends and family watching and it was great experience as everyone got involved," he said. "The match went down to the wire as I won 6-5 on the pink, but Jimmy's a great ambassador for the sport."

Also in action on the opening day are Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Marco Fu and Peter Ebdon. Holder Ronnie O'Sullivan, bidding for a fifth Masters crown, believes that he could win snooker's major titles at least half a dozen times apiece if his career goes on for long enough. "The Rocket" won the Masters for the fourth time last season, beating Mark Selby 10-8 in an exciting final to bring his haul of Masters titles only two short of Stephen Hendry's record of six.

"If I play for another 10 or 12 years then I could get more than six. I could win six UK titles and six Worlds as well if I continue playing for that long," he said. "The Masters has been very good for me. I like all the big tournaments. The London crowds are a bit special and that helps me to get up for it." O'Sullivan broke his cue just a few days before the start of last season's Masters, and said in his victory speech that winning the title with a new cue was the best achievement of his career. He stands by that assessment, though admitted to regret at smashing the cue which brought him the World and UK titles during the 2007-08 campaign.

"I was amazed to win a tournament with a new cue, yet was a freaky thing to do. I broke the old one because I was missing balls and I can't take playing that poorly when I know what I am capable of," he said. "I regret it a bit now because I've had trouble finding a good cue ever since. I'm only human and I've had to soldier on with what I've got." O'Sullivan faces a tough opening match this time against Grand Prix champion Neil Robertson on Tuesday.