Judd Trump begins his quest for a second World Championship title with a show-down against history-maker Hossein Vafaei at The Crucible.
Trump fulfilled his snooker destiny in Sheffield three years ago by lifting the trophy and is now looking to join the elite group of multiple World Champions.
The world number four heads into the sport’s blue riband event in a superb spell of form, having picked up his first ranking title of the season at the Turkish Masters last month after finishing runner-up in the Welsh Open a week earlier.
Champion of Champions winner last November, Trump has also reached the Semi-Finals of The Masters this term and is looking to maintain a consistent recent record at sport’s spiritual home.
The 32-year-old has reached at least the Quarter-Final stage in each of his last four appearances and has lost in the opening round in just two of his previous 12 campaigns.
Trump faces a tricky opener against Persia’s top snooker export – who is making history by becoming the first Iranian to feature in the World Championship.
Vafaei has already enjoyed a landmark season which has seen him claim a maiden ranking title at the Shoot Out earlier this year, in addition to reaching the Semi-Finals of the Welsh Open.
The world number 18 was the highest ranked player to come through the qualifying rounds and did so in dramatic fashion, edging out 18-year-old Lei Peifan 10-9 on the final black in the deciding frame of their play-off match.
Vafaei is now bidding to avenge his narrow 6-5 defeat to Trump in the Semi-Finals of the recent Welsh Open and has lost five of their eight previous encounters.
Their latest and most high profile meeting to date gets under way from 2.30pm BST on Wednesday April 20 for a maximum of nine frames and will resume to a finish over the best of 19 from 7pm on Thursday.
Number 13 seed Anthony McGill awaits the winner in the Second Round on Saturday.
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