Ronnie O'Sullivan faces Robin Hull in the Dafabet World Championship
Last Updated: 18/04/14 10:52am
Ronnie O'Sullivan: Five-time world champion to play Robin Hull
The first-round draw for snooker's Dafabet World Championship will see reigning champion Ronnie O'Sullivan take on Robin Hull when the tournament gets underway at The Crucible on Saturday.
O'Sullivan will launch the defence of his Dafabet World Championship title against Finland's Robin Hull on Saturday morning.
The draw in London on Thursday lunchtime handed Hull the daunting task of facing the tournament favourite, who will be targeting his sixth world title in Sheffield.
Hull, 39, gave up snooker for three years from 2008 due to a life-threatening virus but has returned, playing sporadically but well enough during the qualifying stages over the past fortnight to earn his second shot at Crucible snooker.
"In some respects a player like Robin Hull has a lot less problems than some of the other players who have been bashing their heads against him and coming up with nothing."
He also got through to the main draw in 2002 and on Wednesday night beat that year's champion, Peter Ebdon, in the final preliminary round.
O'Sullivan has won the last two world titles and is also the reigning Masters and Welsh Open champion.
Hull responded to the draw by writing on Twitter: "I start on Saturday against R O'Sullivan. Let's go!"
Six-time world champion Steve Davis is not ruling out a surprise in the top match either, suspecting the likes of Hull may not be cowed by the prospect of facing O'Sullivan.
Davis said: "In some respects a player like Robin Hull has a lot less problems than some of the other players who have been bashing their heads against him and coming up with nothing.
"It seems like a lot of top players have gone into their shell recently when playing against him and so they're not playing their own game. They're certainly in awe of him or in his shadow."
Elsewhere, World No 1 Neil Robertson will take on Robbie Williams, two-time champion John Higgins faces fellow-Scot Alan McManus and World No 6 Stuart Bingham will play two-time runner-up Ken Doherty.
First round draw:
Stephen Maguire v Ryan Day
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Robin Hull
Joe Perry v Jamie Burnett
Shaun Murphy v Jamie Cope
Marco Fu v Martin Gould
Barry Hawkins v David Gilbert
Ricky Walden v Kyren Wilson
Mark Davis v Dominic Dale
Ding Junhui v Michael Wasley
Mark Selby v Michael White
Ali Carter v Xiao Guodong
John Higgins v Alan McManus
Stuart Bingham v Ken Doherty
Judd Trump v Tom Ford
Mark Allen v Michael Holt
Neil Robertson v Robbie Williams
(Tournament runs from Saturday, April 19 until Monday, May 5)