Northern Irishman Mark Allen is vying for his second major ranking title at the 2013 Masters, after making his major breakthrough in March 2012 when he won the Haikou World Open on Hainan Island.
He put an impressive array of top players to the sword on his way to the final in China, which included Judd Trump and current World No. 1 Mark Selby, before producing a stunning performance to beat Stephen Lee 10-1 and claim the £75,000 top prize in the decider.
The 26-year-old managed to cause no little controversy along the way also, famously tweeting critical comments on conditions in Hainan. Allen wrote: "Dead cat found this morning. Any wonder this place stinks. Must be dead cats all round the town."
World Snooker admonished the young star for his “extremely disappointing” remarks and he later apologised.
He will, no doubt, prefer to let his snooker do the talking at the 'Ally Pally' when he faces 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson at 1300 GMT.
The highlight of the Australian's 2011/12 season was his first victory at this prestigious invitational event.
And the fact that he beat Allen 10-6 in the final to claim the then top prize of £150,000, certainly adds a little more spice to this encounter.
Robertson has six ranking titles to his name, including the 2010 World Open. He defeated Ding Junhui of China in the first round, while Allen enjoyed a more comfortable 6-2 triumph over England's Mark Davis.
In Thursday's evening session, two former Crucible winners go head-to-head at 1900 when John Higgins meets Shaun Murphy.
Four-time world champion Higgins had a relatively quiet 2011/12 campaign after an extraordinary finish to the previous season.
A classy 10-9 victory over Judd Trump in a thoroughly entertaining final at the Shanghai Masters was one notable success, although he was dethroned as world champion.
That victory in China was the 25th ranking title of Higgins's distinguished career and he is now third only to Stephen Hendry (36) and Steve Davis (28) in that regard.
The world number three came from 2-0 down to beat Ali Carter 6-3 on Tuesday and will be eager to add The Masters title to his illustrious trophy cabinet for the first time.
He takes on talented Englishman Shaun Murphy, whose ranking title victories (4) may pale in comparison to 'The Wizard of Wishaw's', but who is a dangerous opponent nonetheless
'The Magician' has in fact made eight ranking title final appearances including last month's UK Championship where he went down 10-6 to the in-form Mark Selby
Murphy was a 6-4 victor over Ricky Walden in the last round.
Brendan O'Neill writes for Bettingpro.com an award-winning sports, news and betting website.