Mark Williams launches his quest for a fourth World Championship title when he faces Jimmy Robertson in the opening round at The Crucible.
Five years on from his most recent triumph, the Welshman begins his latest mission to join Mark Selby and John Higgins on four Crucible crowns.
The crowd favourite went agonisingly close to reaching another final 12 months ago, recovering from 7-1 down before eventually suffering a narrow 17-16 defeat to Judd Trump in the semi-finals.
Williams, who hit a record-equalling 16 centuries during the tournament, has now reached at least the quarter-finals in four of his last five appearances on snooker’s biggest stage.
The Masters runner-up has not lost in the opening round since 2015 and he beat Robertson at this stage on the way to his fairy-tale triumph in 2018 – something he hopes will represent a good omen five years later.
In fact, Williams boasts a perfect record against the Sussex cueist, winning all 10 of their previous encounters in professional competition.
Robertson will be desperate to stop the rot as he aims to record his maiden Crucible victory at the fifth attempt, having also fallen at the first hurdle in 2011, 2015 and 2017.
The 2018 European Masters champion overcame Belgium’s Ben Mertens 10-6 before thrashing former German Masters winner Anthony Hamilton 10-2 to secure qualification last week.
And a win here would see him equal his best performance of the season, having also reached the last 16 at the German Masters in February.
The match will be contested over the best of 19 frames with the winner facing either Luca Brecel or Ricky Walden in the second round at the Crucible.
The opening nine frames will be played at 2.30pm BST on Sunday, while a maximum of 10 will be contested when they resume at the same time on Monday.
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