KEN DOHERTY WILL begin his challenge for a second World Snooker Championship against another former winner, Australia’s Neil Robertson.
Doherty won the world title in 1997, beating seven-time champion Stephen Hendry in a thrilling final, but had to come through the qualifiers to earn his place at Sheffield’s famous Crucible Theatre this year.
Robertson, the 2010 champion, was one of 16 seeded players drawn against a qualifier for the first round which begins this Saturday. The winner will face either 11th seed Martin Gould or David Gilbert who meet in an all-English opener.
The pick of the first-round matches sees two more former champions Ronnie O’Sullivan and Peter Ebdon renew their old rivalry , while last year’s winner John Higgins opens his title defence against Liang Wenbo of China.
World number one Mark Selby plays Barry Hawkins of Kent. Seventeen-year-old Luca Brecel of Belgium, the youngest player ever to qualify for the tournament, begins his historic appearance against Scotland’s Stephen Maguire.
World Snooker Championship – First round draw
- John Higgins v Liang Wenbo
- Stuart Bingham v Stephen Hendry
- Graeme Dott v Joe Perry
- Stephen Maguire v Luca Brecel
- Shaun Murphy v Jamie Jones
- Stephen Lee v Andrew Higginson
- Ali Carter v Mark Davis
- Judd Trump v Dominic Dale
- Mark Williams v Liu Chuang
- Ronnie O’Sullivan v Peter Ebdon
- Martin Gould v David Gilbert
- Neil Robertson v Ken Doherty
- Ding Junhui v Ryan Day
- Mark Allen v Cao Yupeng
- Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu
- Mark Selby v Barry Hawkins