This morning saw the draw made for the 2009 World Championship with some interesting matches in the first round.
Stephen Hendry, who has had a very lean time this season, faces another former World Champion, and former Elo Number 1 - Mark Williams. Hendry has fallen from 8th place at the start of the season in the Elo Rankings and is currently in 17th spot, just 7 rating points outside the top 16, whilst Williams has risen from 14th at the start of the season to 11th. However, depending on what happens in the China Open, these two could be closer together when they play at Sheffield.
Another match that catches the eye is the clash between the top two Chinese players with Liang Wenbo being drawn against Ding Junhui. This season saw Wenbo start in 30th place in the Elo Rankings and his performances so far have seen him move up into 22nd - however, he is yet to play his qualifying matches for the China Open and he could move further up the rankings depending on how he performs in Beijing. Junhui, on the other hand, has seen his ranking remain fairly static having moved up just 1 place in the rankings from 13th to 12th having lost 5 rating points so far this season.
Steve Davis faces current Bahrain winner Neil Robertson, and some will see that as a tough draw for the 51 year old. However the last meeting between the players saw Davis win 5:4 in the Last 32 of this seasons Royal London Watches Grand Prix, so there may be an upset in this one.
The full draw is as follows:
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Stuart Bingham
Mark Allen v Martin Gould
Peter Ebdon v Nigel Bond
Ryan Day v Stephen Lee
John Higgins v Michael Holt
Joe Perry v Jamie Cope
Graeme Dott v Barry Hawkins
Mark Selby v Ricky Walden
Shaun Murphy v Andrew Higginson
Marco Fu v Joe Swail
Ding Junhui v Liang Wenbo
Stephen Hendry v Mark Williams
Ali Carter v Gerard Greene
Neil Robertson v Steve Davis
Mark King v Rory McLeod
Stephen Maguire v Jamie Burnett
The website also has the draw in a convenient pdf format for you to view or even print out and can be viewed by clicking on the red ball on the 2008/09 season page.