The draw for the last 32 of the 2013 World Championship has just been completed on talkSPORT radio station.
Here is the full draw…
- Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Marcus Campbell
- Ali Carter vs Ben Woollaston
- Stuart Bingham vs Sam Baird
- John Higgins vs Mark Davis
- Shaun Murphy vs Martin Gould
- Graeme Dott vs Peter Ebdon
- Matthew Stevens vs Marco Fu
- Judd Trump vs Dominic Dale
- Neil Robertson vs Robert Milkins
- Ricky Walden vs Michael Holt
- Mark Williams vs Michael White
- Stephen Maguire vs Dechawat Poomjaeng
- Mark Allen vs Mark King
- Ding Junhui vs Alan McManus
- Barry Hawkins vs Jack Lisowski
- Mark Selby vs Matthew Selt
So Ronnie O’Sullivan will return to competitive snooker for only the second time since his victory in last year’s World Championship with a match on Saturday against Scotland’s Marcus Campbell.
The ‘Rocket’ will no doubt be secretly pleased with that encounter having avoided the likes of danger pros Marco Fu, Martin Gould and veteran Peter Ebdon, as well as the unknown quantities in debutants Jack Lisowski, Michael White and Sam Baird.
It is difficult to predict which Ronnie will turn up but he will undoubtedly start favourite against a 40 year-old opponent who struggled for form despite a 10-4 success over Liam Highfield in the final qualifying round.
And if the four-time champion was to get off to winning ways it is foreseeable that he could then go for strength to strength.
Of the players making their maiden appearances, Lisowski will arguably fancy his chances having drawn fellow Englishman Barry Hawkins – even though the latter is a ranking event winner from this campaign.
White too faces a compatriot in Wales’ two-time winner Mark Williams and the fact that the latter has been so consistently poor of late bodes well for the young pretender.
Baird, meanwhile, must contend with Stuart Bingham with Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng, Ben Woollaston and Matthew Selt taking on Welsh Open champion Stephen Maguire, German Masters victor Ali Carter and world no.1 Mark Selby respectively.
Selby said in his pre-draw interview on talkSPORT that he simply wanted to avoid Leicester practice partner Woollaston and he duly did so, picking up Ken Doherty’s conqueror in the process instead.
For some reason, Dominic Dale seems to always run into Judd Trump and the pair will be at it again on the TV screens for a place in the second round with ranking event runner-up duo from recent months Matthew Stevens and Marco Fu doing battle.
Mark Allen will be happy enough with drawing Mark King while Michael Holt will probably think he has an excellent chance of advancing further after setting up a clash with Wuxi Classic champion Ricky Walden – who has not enjoyed a very good run of form of late.
That leaves five world champions as Peter Ebdon and Graeme Dott meet in a repeat of their 2006 Crucible final that burned the midnight oil and was eventually slogged out by the Glaswegian.
Four-time winner John Higgins faces UK Championship nemesis Mark Davis and Neil Robertson begins his bid for a second crown with a date against Robert Milkins – who was described today as the man “who killed bambi” following his defeat of People’s Champion Jimmy White yesterday.
Finally, Shaun Murphy and Martin Gould go head to head in one of the most intriguing of the opening round draws.
So all in all an interesting but perhaps not a truly fascinating last 32 line-up to the 2013 World Championship.
The top seeds will all be quietly happy I would imagine and the fact that it is a draw without any major headlines could bode well for the bigger names to come through and provide more thrilling matches later on towards the business end of the tournament.
Either way, the ground work has now been laid and in less than five days the marathon to see who will be crowned this year’s world champion in Sheffield will commence.