Mark Williams begins his quest for a fourth World Championship title with an all-Welsh clash against Michael White at The Crucible.
Williams, 47, returns for his 24th World Championship appearance, having made his debut 25 years ago.
His incredible longevity is underlined by the fact that he has remained in the top echelons of the sport over four different decades and continues to challenge for major silverware.
Williams began the season by winning the British Open last August for his 24th career ranking title, and was beaten in the final of the Shoot Out earlier this year.
Semi-finalist at The Masters, the world number eight warmed up for this event by making two maximum breaks in one night in an exhibition and was involved in one of the matches of the season against Ronnie O’Sullivan at the recent Tour Championship – losing out 10-9 in the Quarter-Finals.
Williams has reached back-to-back Quarter-Finals at The Crucible and is looking to replicate his incredible triumph from 2018.
White returns as one of five Welshmen to have come through the qualifying stages last week despite not being in possession of a Tour Card.
The two-time ranking event winner has enjoyed a new lease of life as an ‘amateur’, reaching Round Three of both the Welsh Open and Gibraltar Open in 2022.
He defeated Fraser Patrick, Martin O’Donnell and Mark King for the combined loss of just four frames, before sealing qualification with a 10-8 success over Jordan Brown.
This will be the 30-year-old first Crucible appearance since 2016 and his fourth in total, having reached the Quarter-Finals on debut in 2013 with victory over Williams along the way.
White prevailed 10-6 in the opening round on that occasion and has won four of their five previous encounters, including at the 2019 UK Championship.
Their latest meeting gets under way from 2.30pm BST on Sunday April 17 for a maximum of nine frames, before resuming to a finish from 2.30pm on Monday over the best of 19.
Either 2013 world finalist Barry Hawkins or 20-year-old debutant Jackson Page will await the winner in the Second Round.
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