So the wait is over, following this afternoon’s draw live on Talksport, we now know how the last 32 players will line-up at the 2013 World Championship, with defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan set to begin the defence of his crown against Scotland’s Marcus Campbell on Saturday.
The full drawsheet, which will be updated during the tournament, can be accessed here, while the line-up is also below:
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marcus Campbell
Ali Carter v Ben Woollaston
Stuart Bingham v Sam Baird
John Higgins v Mark Davis
Shaun Murphy v Martin Gould
Graeme Dott v Peter Ebdon
Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu
Judd Trump v Dominic Dale
Neil Robertson v Robert Milkins
Ricky Walden v Michael Holt
Mark Williams v Michael White
Stephen Maguire v Dechawat Poomjaeng
Mark Allen v Mark King
Ding Junhui v Alan McManus
Barry Hawkins v Jack Lisowski
Mark Selby v Matt Selt
So what can we say as the dust settles? With a couple of exceptions, it is perhaps fair to say that the qualifiers generally regarded as the most dangerous, have been placed away from the main contenders.
For me this is far from a bad thing, on paper at least, the draw looks to be fairly balanced and I would prefer to see more of the ‘glamour ties’ during the longer matches of the second week, than the first. In any event, after last year which saw so many opening round shocks, I have no doubt that 2013 will see more than its fair share of surprises also.
Standing out for me, the match between Shaun Murphy and Martin Gould is one to savour, while the all-Welsh battle between Mark Williams and Michael White is one not to be missed. John Higgins and Mark Davis will do battle again after their classic at the UK Championship earlier in the season.
Graeme Dott and Peter Ebdon will meet again in a repeat of their Crucible contests back in 2006 and 2010, while the match between Marco Fu and Matthew Stevens also has the look of a close one, not withstanding Matthew’s 10-3 victory at the same stage of this tournament a year ago.
Which matches stand out for you? Let me know @prosnookerblog