Neil Robertson will start the defence of his Betfred.com World Championship title against Judd Trump at the Crucible on April 16.

The first round draw was made this morning:

Neil Robertson v Judd Trump
Marco Fu v Martin Gould
Graeme Dott v Mark King
Ali Carter v Dave Harold
Ding Junhui v Jamie Burnett
Peter Ebdon v Stuart Bingham
Stephen Hendry v Joe Perry
Mark Selby v Jimmy Robertson
Mark Williams v Ryan Day
Jamie Cope v Andrew Pagett
Mark Allen v Matthew Stevens
Stephen Maguire v Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy v Marcus Campbell
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Dominic Dale
Ricky Walden v Rory McLeod
John Higgins v Stephen Lee

At first glance, the two form players this season, John Higgins and Mark Williams, have been handed tough opening round ties.

However, neither Stephen Lee nor Ryan Day would have wanted to draw them. Lee has long regarded Higgins as the best player in the game and the form the Scot has shown this season means he remains favourite for the title, even though the Trowbridge man is playing much better this season than he has for a couple of years.

Robertson v Trump should ensure an entertaining start to the championship.

Ronnie O'Sullivan has a good record against Dominic Dale but Mark Allen is unlikely to be doing cartwheels at the prospect of meeting an in form Matthew Stevens.

The two rookies, Jimmy Robertson and Andrew Pagett, will just be happy to be there. Robertson has a very tough match against Mark Selby but Pagett may fancy his chances against Jamie Cope, who tends to blow hot and cold.


Anonymous said...

Looking at Hendry he will have to play fairly well to beat Perry. I was hoping he could have an easy start to the tournament, relatively speaking, but I suppose it's a touch better than facing Lee and Stevens.

Come on Stephen, don't lose your concentration for the umpteenth time! Number 8 is coming your way.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I cannot see past Hendry this year. The others seem to be struggling while he is playing really well in pracrice.

Anonymous said...

1.37, who could he have drawn that would be easier than Perry.
This will probably be Hendrys last ever match at the crucible. Next year he will have to win a couple of qualifiers in the cubicle against hungry young upstarts. He hasnt got the tactical game of Davis or Ebbo to reverse his downward spiral.

Anonymous said...

Hendry will be seeded at the Crucible Next year He will beat Perry this Year Beat Stevens in shanghai and start next season in the top 16.

but id have rather he drew Matthew Stevens Someone in Great Form it Focuses the Mind Better.

Betty Logan said...

Hendry has a favourable draw this year and has a relatively clear path through to the semi-final: Perry shouldn't cause him too many problems and then he has Selby in the second round; you'd have to fancy Selby, but Selby is the weakest player in the top 8 so Hendry will view that match as an opportunity. Then he's got probably got Ding or Ebdon in the quarters—I think it would be close against Ebdon, and Hendry has beaten Ding the last couple of times at the Crucible. Robertson, Carter or Dott will probably come through the top quarter and I don't think he'd beat any of them over four sessions, but it has the potential to be a good tournament for him this year.

Richie Segal said...

Hendry has no chance, you can not turn up at the biggest tournament in the game with no form and expect to win, it is 6 years since his last title and 8 years since his last win in the UK

I think he will win the first round match, get past the 2nd round would be a decent performance

Anonymous said...

If Selby was the weakest player in the top eight he'd be ranked eighth not fourth

Betty Logan said...

Selby has acquired half his points this season from the PTC, so we can't read too much into the rankings. Some players didn't enter, and some weren't motivated, so the rankings aren't really a reliable indicater of how a player has been performing in proper ranking tournaments; the fact remains that the other top 8 players have all won full ranking titles more recently than Selby has.

Anonymous said...

By easier, draw-wise, I was thinking of the debutants Pagett and Robertson. Hendry barely beat Zhang Anda when they met so by no means is he guaranteed to move on either way.

But am I alone in believing he has another great run in him? Davis had his surprise win in 1997 (UK?) and it's not like Hendry can't hit a ball. He just can't keep his focus for some reason. And he struggles with the yips or whatever it's called.

He will do us proud once more - let's hope it will be at the Crucible.

Anonymous said...

Betsy your looking at Hendry with rose tinted specs again. You caused consternation last year when you said that Hendry would easily take out Selby but he lost 13-5, as most snooker fans expected. And here your at it again. Dream on. Perry will be Hendrys final-win or lose.

Anonymous said...

Whoever comes out of the bottom will beat Selby in the final.
The 3 players of the year- Murphy, Higgins and Williams, and the best there is, - O'Sullivan, are all down the bottom half.

Anonymous said...

I agree Hendry looks a near certainty this year.
He has a decent draw and remains the best player we have ever seen since Sir Neville Chamberlain invented the game back in the Ancient Raj which btw isn't an Indian retaurant in New Cross.


Great draw. Great matches in prospect. I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

selby weakest player in the top 8 ?hendry doesnt have the tactical game of davis and ebdon? do any of u people understand this game . u have no idea. clueless is being polite.

Anonymous said...


My predicted winners of said matches:

Carter ( Harold could produce some resistance)
Ebdon ( possibly only just winning)
Hendry ( as long as he has no 147's)
Selby ( possibly quite easily)
Cope ( dont know enough about Pagett)
Allen ( due to last few years good progress)
Maguire ( maybe only just.)
O'Sullivan ( dale could cause him some problems though)
Higgins ( not all his own way though)

I think Hendry is likely to start well and possibly finish the last session well providing he is in front, and if he holds his concentration, he should beat Perry, maybe 10-5 to 10-8.

Predict Higgins to win, but given the match at Last UK Champ 1st round repeat, Lee is capable of producing much resistance.

Fu and Gould difficult to call......If gould shows same performance from last year, he may well beat Fu.
If so, Fu will have to reproduce last Masters form to have a chance.

Stevens and Allen very difficult to call, could be 10-8, 10-9 either way.

O' Sullivan should win, but given his recent performances and attitudes, I dont think he has much interest in progressing , IF he gets to the longer matches.

Ebdon and Bingham.......difficult to call as well......
Predict Ebdon, but wouldnt be surprised to see Bingham winning.

Maguire and Hawkins.
Maguire, although I wouldnt bet against hawkins.
Hawkins was 3-0 up against Higgins last year opening round, but slowly crumbled away 2nd session.
Against the lesser player of Maguire, Hawkins may well do enough to win.

Anonymous said...

Kin ell i'll have a pint of what Betty's drinking if he/she thinks Hendry "has a relatively clear path through to the semi-final"

Anonymous said...

with so many tournaments taking place I missed this high-profile draw ...

Keith said...

So just the usual three overseas players and NO overseas qualifiers at all? That seems really bad for the development of the game. We're going backwards.

Betty Logan said...

I think what I said last year was that it would be an easy victory for Hendry if he started to score, and an easy win for Selby if it went tactical, so I was pretty spot-on in my call on that match.

That said, Selby's scoring has come on a lot over the last 12–18 months so a potting contest wouldn't be one way traffic this year.

Anonymous said...

just dont underestimate Stephen Hendry.

when he made the semis in 2008 the same things was said that year he beat Mark Allen,Ding Junhui and Ryan Day who beaten Higgins the previous Round.

hes playing nowhere near good enough to win and wont win but he can do some damage.

Anonymous said...

I think Joe Perry is a good bet against Hendry. Perry has always been pretty tough in the longer matches.

The other great bet has to be Stuart Bingham @11/10 to beat Ebdon.

jamie brannon said...

It is an ideal draw for O'Sullivan.

He has avoided the methodical players and also the dangerous players like Stevens and Lee where he may have needed his A-game.

Don't think he will progress beyond second-round, though

Anonymous said...

Perry has a chance but Hendry is also pretty Good over Long Matches.

When the chips are down he pulls a rabit out of a hat. This year wont be any different.

Anonymous said...

It has to be Hendry this year.
If he can recapture the kind of form which amassed 7 centuries in the UK final against Ken Doherty who could stop him?
I believe he is playing "ever so well" in practice and on current standings, I cannot see past him this year.

Anonymous said...

Not enough overseas players? Dry your tears. Calling homegrown talent 'going backwards' is an insult.

I want to see the best players and I consider the sport lucky that they don't consist of an asian robot army.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Anonymous said...

Where are all those Hendry dreamers coming from. Hendry has as much chance of winning as Tony Blair has of being re elected.

If Ray Reardon or Joe Johnson play to thier best they can win.

The dream is over. Move on.