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World Snooker Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan begins title defence against Pang Junxu

Seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will take on Pang Junxu in the first round of the World Snooker Championship while Mark Selby will kick off his campaign with a meeting with Matthew Selt.

Defending champion O'Sullivan heads to the Crucible in search of a record eighth world title, hoping to move one clear of Stephen Hendry, who is tied with O'Sullivan on seven. 

He will begin his defence in the opening match of the tournament on Saturday morning, which will see a conclusion on Saturday evening.
O'Sullivan will be looking to defend his title for just a second time, after successfully doing so in 2013, but he has yet to win a ranking tournament this season, although the 47-year-old has two invitational tournament wins to his name - the Hong Kong Masters and Champion of Champions.
Selby, currently second in the rankings, is looking to win a fifth world title and starts against Selt, while fellow four-time world champion John Higgins will open his campaign with a meeting against David Grace.
Judd Trump lost out in the final last year and will start his campaign with a tricky opener against Scottish qualifier and former semi-finalist Anthony McGill in what could be the tie of the round.
Mark Allen also faces a test in the opener against 22-year-old Fan Zhengyi while two-time runner-up Ali Carter will meet debutant Jak Jones.
Neil Robertson will be hoping to get his hands on a second world title, 13 years after his last one, and he has an opening match against Wu Yize, while Hossein Vafaei, the first Iranian to qualify at the Crucible, is back for a second year with a match-up against former finalist Ding Junhui.
Joe Perry will meet Robert Milkins while Mark Williams and Jack Lisowski come up against Jimmy Robertson and Noppon Saengkham respectively.
Elsewhere, Shaun Murphy will face Si Jiahui, Stuart Bingham comes up against David Gilbert, Kyren Wilson meets Ryan Day, Gary Wilson faces Elliot Slessor and Luca Brecel plays Ricky Walden.
READ MORE: World Championship: Joe Perry 'physically sick' after Crucible qualifying win over friend Mark Davis

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