World Championships 2017: Mark Selby faces Fergal O'Brien in first round

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport at The Crucible
Highlights: Selby beats Ding to win 2016 title
2017 World Snooker Championship
Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 15 April - 1 May
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and online.

Defending champion Mark Selby will face Fergal O'Brien in the first round of the World Championship at the Crucible.

Selby, 33, lifted the trophy for the second time last year with victory over China's Ding Junhui, who comes up against fellow countryman Zhou Yuelong.

Five-time winner Ronnie O'Sullivan faces Gary Wilson, world number two Judd Trump plays Rory McLeod and Shaun Murphy meets 17-year-old Yan Bingtao.

Selby begins his campaign on Saturday, 15 April at 10:00 BST.

O'Brien came through qualifying with a final-frame win over David Gilbert, which included the longest frame played in professional snooker history - two hours, three minutes and 41 seconds.

"It was dragging on with so much safety being played," O'Brien, 45, told BBC Sport. "We were on the yellow for about half an hour and there were not many chances to pot it.

"There was so much at stake and we were fearful of making a mistake.

"It is a great occasion to play the defending champion on the opening morning. I need to rest up and relax until then and get some practice in."

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn described 2005 champion Murphy's tie against China's Yan as his "pick of the opening round".

Yan - who won the snooker World Cup with partner Zhou in 2015 - will become the first player born in the 2000s to compete at the Crucible, which is hosting the tournament for the 40th year.

Meanwhile, Anthony McGill faces Stephen Maguire in an all-Scottish tie and 2010 champion Neil Robertson plays Thailand's Noppon Saengkham, who at 72 is the lowest ranked player in the tournament.

Ryan Day, the only Welshman in the draw, is up against another Chinese player in Xiao Guodong.

The draw in full

Mark Selby v Fergal O'Brien

Anthony McGill v Stephen Maguire

Kyren Wilson v David Grace

John Higgins v Martin Gould

Barry Hawkins v Tom Ford

Marco Fu v Luca Brecel

Shaun Murphy v Yan Bingtao

Judd Trump v Rory McLeod

Stuart Bingham v Peter Ebdon

Ronnie O'Sullivan v Gary Wilson

Ryan Day v Xiao Guodong

Ding Junhui v Zhou Yuelong

Neil Robertson v Noppon Saengkham

Mark Allen v Jimmy Robertson

Liang Wenbo v Stuart Carrington

Ali Carter v Graeme Dott

Best shots of the 2016 World Championship


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