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Ronnie O’Sullivan will begin the defence of his Dafabet World Snooker Championship title against Robin Hull when play gets under way in Sheffield on Saturday.
O’Sullivan has won the prestigious event at the Crucible five times in all, most recently when defeating Barry Hawkins 12 months ago, and having already bagged the Masters and Welsh Open, he could not step up to the baize in better form as he bids to equal the record of six World
Championship wins achieved by Ray Reardon and Steve Davis.That would leave O’Sullivan just one behind the modern-day record of seven held by Stephen Hendry, and he begins his quest against a 39-year-old Hull from Finland who only returned to competitive snooker in 2011 after three years out through illness.
Hull should pose little problem for O’Sullivan, although to be fair he did beat the 2002 champion Peter Ebden in the qualifying stages and will not be treated lightly by O’Sullivan.
Elsewhere in the draw for the event now worth £300,000 to the winner, four-time champion John Higgins meets fellow Scot Alan McManus, while China’s in-form Ding Junhui bids for a sixth ranking title of the year no less as he starts off against English qualifier Michael Wasley.
Australian Neil Robertson, triumphant in 2010, has been drawn against another English qualifier in Robbie Williams and last year’s runner-up, Barry Hawkins, meets David Gilbert.
- Ronnie O’Sullivan v Robin Hull
- Joe Perry v Jamie Burnett
- Shaun Murphy v Jamie Cope
- Marco Fu v Martin Gould
- Barry Hawkins v David Gilbert
- Ricky Walden v Kyren Wilson
- Mark Davis v Dominic Dale
- Ding Junhui v Michael Wasley
- Mark Selby v Michael White
- Ali Carter v Xiao Guodong
- John Higgins v Alan McManus
- Stuart Bingham v Ken Doherty
- Judd Trump v Tom Ford
- Stephen Maguire v Ryan Day
- Mark Allen v Michael Holt
- Neil Robertson v Robbie Williams