The draw for the 2022 World Snooker Championship has been confirmed, with Ronnie O’Sullivan taking on David Gilbert at The Crucible.
The sport’s annual show-piece features the world’s top 16 ranked players alongside a further 16 qualifiers as they battle it out for £2.4 million in prize money from April 16 to May 2.
A host of decorated stars and exciting emerging talents lock horns at the sport’s spiritual home for the 46th consecutive staging in Sheffield.
Selby is the defending champion after he defeated Shaun Murphy 18-15 in last year’s final to claim the crown for a fourth time, and will begin his bid to become only the fifth player to win five or more world titles with a clash against 2012 quarter-finalist Jamie Jones in Round One.
As per tournament tradition, the defending champion’s match will start and finish on the opening Saturday at The Crucible.
World number one O’Sullivan will launch his pursuit of a record-equalling seventh world title with a tie against 2019 semi-finalist Gilbert in one of the stand-out ties of the opening round.
O’Sullivan last claimed the title in 2020 and has picked up the World Grand Prix title this season to take his overall record tally to 38 ranking titles.
Four-time World Champion John Higgins will open up against Thai star Thepchaiya Un-Nooh as they meet in the sport’s blue riband event for the second time.
Judd Trump, the number four seed and 2019 World Champion, starts out against reigning Shoot Out champion Hossein Vafaei – the first Iranian ever to qualify for the World Championship.
Neil Robertson, the 2010 World Champion and winner of three ranking titles this season as well as The Masters, takes on Yorkshire’s Ashley Hugill – one of three debutants in this year’s field.
Three-time World Champion Mark Williams, whose most recent triumph here came in 2018, has been drawn to face fellow Welshman Michael White – twice a ranking event winner.
Reigning UK Champion and German Masters winner Zhao Xintong is seeded for the first time and will host Jamie Clarke, while 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy starts out against former UK Champion Stephen Maguire in a blockbuster battle.
Fifth seed Kyren Wilson, the 2020 runner-up, will meet 2016 finalist Ding Junhui in another mouth-watering encounter.
Barry Hawkins, the 2013 runner-up, starts his latest campaign against 20-year-old Welsh debutant Jackson Page, while 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham hosts Chinese youngster Lyu Haotian.
Jack Lisowski, the number 14 seed, faces a crunch clash with two-time world finalist Matthew Stevens – who produced a stunning fightback to defeat Ali Carter in the final qualifying round.
UK Championship finalist Luca Brecel takes on Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, as 2020 semi-finalist Anthony McGill meets Liam Highfield.
Northern Ireland Open champion Mark Allen takes on Scott Donaldson, while former Masters winner Yan Bingtao faces Chris Wakelin.
The full schedule of play will be confirmed in due course.
World Snooker Championship 2022 Draw
Mark Selby (1) v Jamie Jones
Yan Bingtao (16) v Chris Wakelin
Barry Hawkins (9) v Jackson Page
Mark Williams (8) v Michael White
Kyren Wilson (5) v Ding Junhui
Stuart Bingham (12) v Lyu Haotian
Anthony McGill (13) v Liam Highfield
Judd Trump (4) v Hossein Vafaei
Neil Robertson (3) v Ashley Hugill
Jack Lisowski (14) v Matthew Stevens
Luca Brecel (11) v Noppon Saengkham
John Higgins (6) v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Zhao Xintong (7) v Jamie Clarke
Shaun Murphy (10) v Stephen Maguire
Mark Allen (15) v Scott Donaldson
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) v David Gilbert