Former World Champions Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy are among the notable names to commence their 2023 Crucible campaigns on Wednesday.
Day Five of the sport’s blue riband event features the conclusion of two matches, while a further trio of intriguing ties get under way.
Mark Selby kicks off his quest for a fifth world title with a clash against former ranking event winner Matthew Selt.
Selby is looking to maintain his perfect record over Selt, having won all eight of their previous meetings, including a 10-4 rout here a decade ago.
Crucible king in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021, Selby has suffered just one First Round defeat in the last decade and is notoriously tough to beat over the long-haul format.
After a barren season in 2021/22, the Leicester ace has returned to the winner’s circle this term, picking up the English Open and WST Classic titles, while also reaching the Semi-Finals of the Tour Championship.
Former Indian Open champion Selt returns for his fourth World Championship appearance and is out to reach the Last 16 for the first time, having defeated Peter Lines and 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott in qualifying.
Shaun Murphy sets out on a revenge mission when he comes up against Chinese debutant Si Jiahui.
Murphy, the 2005 World Champion, suffered a shock 6-5 defeat when the pair met in the 2021 UK Championship, later unleashing a rant about the inclusion of amateur players in snooker’s biggest tournaments – Si being one of them at the time.
On the table, Murphy has enjoyed a superb season, winning the Players Championship and Tour Championship to take his tally of career ranking titles to 11.
He also finished runner-up in the Welsh Open and has been denied a second world title on three occasions with defeats in the 2009, 2015 and 2021 finals.
Si, 20, is China’s last remaining hope in the competition and secured a dream debut with wins over Florian Nüßle, Tom Ford and Jordan Brown in the qualifiers.
Quarter-finalist in this season’s European Masters, the naturally-gifted youngster will be out to complete a memorable double over the outspoken Murphy.
Seventh seed Kyren Wilson opens up with a tough test against current British Open champion Ryan Day.
Wilson came agonisingly close to claiming the sport’s ultimate prize here three years ago, losing out to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
He picked up his fifth ranking title at this season’s European Masters and warmed up for this event by finishing runner-up in the Tour Championship, notably firing in six century breaks in his Semi-Final win over Ding Junhui.
The Warrior is renowned for his consistency at The Crucible, having reached at least the Quarter-Final stage in six of his last seven appearances.
Day, meanwhile, ended a five-year absence from the sport’s show-piece by coming through the qualifiers, defeating Ashley Hugill 10-8, before seeing Scott Donaldson retire midway through their contest.
The Welshman claimed his fourth career ranking title at the British Open last October and is a three-time Crucible quarter-finalist.
The morning session sees Jack Lisowski looking to press home a 6-3 advantage over Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.
Lisowski opened up the match with a break of 102 and sealed three of the last four frames to put himself in a commanding position as he bids to reach the Last 16 for the third consecutive year.
Lisowski could face his close friend Judd Trump in the Second Round, but the 2019 World Champion must firstly overturn a 6-3 deficit against Crucible specialist Anthony McGill.
A superb first session from McGill saw him produce breaks of 77, 119, 87, 60 and 59 to become favourite for a fourth straight appearance in the Second Round.
The action gets under way from 10am BST, with First Round matches to be contested over the best of 19 frames.
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World Snooker Championship 2023 Day Five Schedule
*Indicates final session
Wednesday April 19
Jack Lisowski (6-3) Noppon Saengkham*
Kyren Wilson v Ryan Day
Judd Trump (3-6) Anthony McGill*
Mark Selby v Matthew Selt
Shaun Murphy v Si Jiahui
Kyren Wilson v Ryan Day*
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