Snooker World Championship draw made, exciting encounters aplenty

This year each player outside of the top 16 has three gruelling qualifying rounds to overcome before making the first round of the final tournament of the year.

Snooker World Championship draw made, exciting encounters aplenty
The target for the qualification hopefuls (photo: Getty Images)

The World Championship qualifiers begin this week as 128 players set out to fill the last 16 places at the Crucible and there are some fantastic prospective meetings.

Ding strikes lucky

Ding Junhui missed out on automatic qualification when Stephen Maguire reached the semi-finals of the China Open last week, but the Chinese star will be relatively happy with his draw. He has a potential second round match with Ross Muir, before the possibility of taking on Andrew Higginson in the final qualifying round, but he should be good enough to make it through.

Ben Woollaston has started to come into his own this season with some consistent performances and also has a very kind looking draw, whilst legends Jimmy White and Peter Ebdon could meet if they see off Gerard Greene and James Wattana respectively.

Noppon Saengkham was a revelation in Beijing last week but has a difficult qualification process against Michael Georgiou and then the possibility of Scotland's Graeme Dott. Another intriguing section of the draw means that only one of Robert Milkins, Kurt Maflin and Rod Lawler could make it through.

Favourable draws for starlets Wilson and Brecel

Mark King should be relatively pleased with his draw, although he may have to overcome Michael Holt who has already beaten Ronnie O'Sullivan this season. A much more difficult section sees Tian Pengfei, Ken Doherty, Alfie Burden and Ryan Day all pitched together with only one able to make it through.

Young revelations Kyren Wilson and Luca Brecel will fancy their chances of qualifying in reasonably straightforward draws. Matthew Selt has a more complex route with Mitchell Man, Robin Hull and Dechawat Poomjaeng all potential banana skins.

Ali Carter has come back into some form this season and has a favourable looking draw, as does Liang Wenbo, although he will have to play either Jamie Cope or Ashley Hugill in the second round who have both beaten Neil Robertson this season.