Champion Selby & O'Sullivan learn opponents at Worlds


Ronnie O’Sullivan is seeking a sixth world title in Sheffield
2018 World Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 21 April – 7 May
Coverage: Watch live across BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Five-time winner and favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan faces a difficult first round match against Stephen Maguire at the World Championship in Sheffield.

Defending champion Mark Selby, chasing a fourth title in five years, plays Joe Perry, while last year’s beaten finalist John Higgins was drawn against Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

China’s Ding Junhui is up against fellow countryman Xiao Guodong.

Selby begins his quest on Saturday at 10:00 BST, live on BBC TV and online.

The draw, originally scheduled for 10:00 on Thursday, was delayed by two hours because of technical issues at the venue.

World number 22 Perry called it “an absolute joke” as qualifiers like himself “have no idea when we are playing, have to book hotels and make travel plans”.

Watch the moment Selby clinched third world title

O’Sullivan is chasing a record sixth ranking title of the season and his match against Maguire (14:30 on Saturday) is the standout tie of the opening round.

‘The Rocket’ has beaten Scotland’s Maguire in the semi-finals en route to winning the UK Championship and World Grand Prix earlier this season.

Elsewhere, Masters champion Mark Allen plays debutant Liam Highfield, former world champion Stuart Bingham faces Jack Lisowski, Judd Trump faces Chris Wakelin and Hong Kong’s Marco Fu was drawn against world number 68 Lyu Haotian, the lowest ranked player in the draw.

Welshman Jamie Jones is rewarded for his 10-0 qualifying win against China’s Liang Wenbo with a first round encounter against 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: “The standard is absolutely incredible. It has been a long, hard season, there has been a lot of travelling involved but we are approaching the end now and someone will be crowned the world champion.”

Coverage of the tournament is live across BBC online, TV and radio, with the final taking place on 6 and 7 May.

Full first round draw

Mark Selby v Joe Perry

Mark Allen v Liam Highfield

Kyren Wilson v Matthew Stevens

Shaun Murphy v Jamie Jones

John Higgins v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

Stuart Bingham v Jack Lisowski

Luca Brecel v Ricky Walden

Judd Trump v Chris Wakelin

Ding Junhui v Xiao Guodong

Anthony McGill v Ryan Day

Marco Fu v Lyu Haotian

Barry Hawkins v Stuart Carrington

Mark Williams v Jimmy Robertson

Neil Robertson v Robert Milkins

Ali Carter v Graeme Dott

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stephen Maguire

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