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China's Ding to face Day at snooker worlds first round


10:51, April 17, 2012

LONDON, April 16 (Xinhua) -- China's top snooker player Ding Junhui will take on Ryan Day in the opening round of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield next week.

Ding, who entered the semifinals last year but was knockout by the later runner-up Judd Trump, will start the 2012 campaign on April 24 and try to go further this time for his first world title.

The 25-year-old Ding has so far collected the titles of Masters and UK championship, which were tipped as the "big three" events of a snooker season along with world championship.

The championship runs from April 21 to May 7. The random draw took place on Monday with the top 16 seeds pitted against the 16 qualifiers.

Ding Junhui will not feel alone in the 1.1-million-pound tournament as his teammate Liang Wenbo, Cao Yupeng and Liu Chuang also has booked berths as well as Marco Fu of Hong Kong, China, which was a record number at the Crucible.

On the opening day, defending champion John Higgins will take on Liang Wenbo, a former Shanghai Masters finalist who is currently ranked 38th in the world.

In another eye-catching first-round clash, Ronnie O'Sullivan will face Peter Ebdon.

The three-time world champion will have a tough task against in- form Ebdon, who won the China Open earlier this month and thrashed Alfie Burden 10-0 in his qualifying match for Sheffield yesterday.

Belgian prodigy Luca Brecel, age 17 years and one month, will become the youngest player ever to compete at the Crucible when he faces Stephen Maguire.

Two more debutants, Welshman Jamie Jones and China's Cao Yupeng, were drawn out against Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen respectively.

Seven time champion Stephen Hendry came through the qualifiers and has been handed a tie with Stuart Bingham, who beat Hendry in the first round on his Crucible debut in 2000.

Last year's runner-up Judd Trump will meet Dominic Dale, while the only two non-British former champions in the field, Neil Robertson and Ken Doherty, will go head to head in the opening round.

Following is the full draw:

John Higgins v Liang Wenbo

Stuart Bingham v Stephen Hendry

Graeme Dott v Joe Perry

Stephen Maguire v Luca Brecel

Shaun Murphy v Jamie Jones

Stephen Lee v Andrew Higginson

Ali Carter v Mark Davis

Judd Trump v Dominic Dale

Mark Williams v Liu Chuang

Ronnie O'Sullivan v Peter Ebdon

Martin Gould v David Gilbert

Neil Robertson v Ken Doherty

Ding Junhui v Ryan Day

Mark Allen v Cao Yupeng

Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu

Mark Selby v Barry Hawkins


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