The final draw for the 2019 World Snooker Championship has been made with the 16 players coming through qualifying rounds now drawn against the top 16 players in the world.
World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan will bid for a sixth title. Reigning World Champion, Mark Williams will be looking for back to back wins. Australian Neil Roberts will look to replicate his 2010 success and add a second world title to his name. Current world number two, Mark Selby, is a strong contender for his third title while Masters champion Judd Trump will look to lift the trophy for the first time.
Seven players will make their Crucible debuts including amateur James Cahill who is the first ever amateur to reach the Crucible through the qualifying stages.
Cahill, 23, beat fellow amateur Michael Judge 10-6 after both amateurs had defeated professionals to reach the final round of qualifying.
James Cahill will face a formidable first round opponent in Five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Mark Davis has reached the Crucible through the qualifying rounds for a record tenth occasion. He is also the oldest player in this year’s competition.
“I’ve been to the Crucible and felt under pressure, other times I’ve enjoyed it – but these qualifying matches are always pressure, every one of them
Davis will face four-time champion John Higgins in his first round match.
Graeme Dott, the 2006 champion also made it through the qualifiers and is one of five Scots in the last 32.
It is the fifth time Dott has come through qualifying. But the former world Champion has slipped down the rankings and knows that many do not realize he is still a regular competitor.
“Hopefully they’ll tune into the BBC and see that I’m still playing.”
Dot faces another former world champion, Stuart Bingham, in his first round match.
Famous names like Marco Fu, Peter Ebdon, Alan McManus, Ken Doherty, Jimmy White and Matthew Stevens were all eliminated in the qualifying stages by determined opposition.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said:
“The quality coming through on a global scale is incredible.”
A record six Chinese players will play in this year’s championship at the Crucible. Only England will have larger representation with 15 players.
Ding Junhui, currently the world number 10 is an automatic qualifier for the Crucible. A familiar face at the crucible he was runner up in 2016. Junhui is a good outside bet to go one better this year and lift the trophy.
Zhao Xintong and Luo Honghao came through qualifying beating regular competitors Matt Selt and Tom Ford. Honghao is just 19 and in his first season as a professional.
More experienced Chinese players, Li Hang and Tian Pengfei, also secured their first time at the crucible.
“Every year, there are more young Chinese players and this year is very special. We have had nine players in the final qualifying round, nine players looking for the Crucible.
“I think we will see a Chinese world champion in the next five or ten years.”
The first round begins on Saturday 20th April with current world champion Mark Williams taking on qualifier Martin Gould.
BBC Sport pundit John Parrott and 1991 world champion said:
“The Crucible is the Wembley of snooker, it is the hallowed turf. As a kid growing up you want to play here and get nervous just on the drive up.”
The 2019 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield will run for two weeks from Saturday, 20 April, with the final decided on Monday, 6 May.