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World Snooker Championship 2019 Draw: Williams to face Gould in Crucible opener

Welsh ace Williams claimed his third world title 12 months ago (credit:PA Images)

Mark Williams will begin the defence of his World Championship title against Martin Gould on opening day at The Crucible, while tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan faces amateur ace James Cahill.

The annual snooker show-piece features the world's top 16 ranked players alongside a further 16 qualifiers as they battle it out for £2.2 million in prize money from April 20 to May 6.

Williams, who claimed the sport's biggest prize for the third time with victory over John Higgins in the final last year, launches the defence of his title against former German Masters champion Martin Gould on opening Saturday in Sheffield.

Five-time World Champion O'Sullivan, the world number one and pre-tournament favourite, has been drawn to face Blackpool youngster James Cahill - who made history by becoming the first amateur player ever to qualify for the main event.

Mark Selby, who has secured three world titles since 2014, begins his quest to regain the crown with a show-down against Zhao Xintong - one of six Chinese talents involved in this year's competition.

Judd Trump, the reigning Masters champion and 2011 world finalist, will commence his latest quest for Crucible glory with a clash against Thailand's Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, the reigning Shoot-Out champion.

Neil Robertson, winner of the Welsh Open and China Open in recent months and World Champion in 2010, takes on debutant qualifier Michael Georgiou - the 2018 Shoot-Out champion who will become the first Cypriot ever to appear in the World Snooker Championship.

Four-time World Champion John Higgins, who has finished runner-up in each of the last two years, faces 46-year-old Mark Davis, the oldest player ever to come through qualifying.

Two former World Champions collide in one of the stand-out First Round fixtures 2015 champion Stuart Bingham meets 2006 winner Graeme Dott, while 2016 finalist Ding Junhui opens up against 2015 quarter-finalist Anthony McGill.

Former Masters Champion Mark Allen begins his bid for a maiden world crown against emerging talent Zhou Yuelong, as German Masters champion Kyren Wilson plays Scott Donaldson - one of seven debutants in this year's line-up.

Barry Hawkins, runner-up in 2013, looks to continue his consistent record at The Crucible by overcoming Chinese newcomer Li Hang, while 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy will meet 19-year-old debutant Luo Honghao.

Belgian ace Luca Brecel, the number 13 seed, will take on former China Open finalist Gary Wilson - making his second Crucible appearance, while former UK Champion Stephen Maguire faces a tricky opener against Tian Pengfei - who saw off Ryan Day and Matthew Stevens in qualifying.

David Gilbert, the world number 16 who is seeded here for the first time, will play world number 18 Joe Perry, while another mouth-watering tie sees China Open finalist Jack Lisowski take on two-time world finalist Ali Carter.

The tournament takes place from April 20 to May 6 at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The full tournament schedule of play will be published in due course.

World Snooker Championship 2019 Draw


First Round

Mark Williams (1) v Martin Gould
Ronnie O'Sullivan (2) v James Cahill
Mark Selby (3) v Zhao Xintong
Neil Robertson (4) v Michael Georgiou
John Higgins (5) v Mark Davis
Mark Allen (6) v Zhou Yuelong
Judd Trump (7) v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Kyren Wilson (8) v Scott Donaldson
Barry Hawkins (9) v Li Hang
Ding Junhui (10) v Anthony McGill
Jack Lisowski (11) v Ali Carter
Stuart Bingham (12) v Graeme Dott
Shaun Murphy (13) v Luo Honghao
Luca Brecel (14) v Gary Wilson
Stephen Maguire (15) v Tian Pengfei
David Gilbert (16) v Joe Perry


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World Snooker Championship 2019 Draw: Williams to face Gould in Crucible opener

Mark Williams will begin the defence of his World Championship title against Martin Gould on opening day at The Crucible, while tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan faces amateur ace James Cahill.

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