LONDON, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Former world number one Ding Junhui will face fellow Chinese Xiao Guodong in the first round of the World Snooker Championship to open on Saturday.
Ding, ranked third in the world, was knocked out at the semifinals last year by eventual champion Mark Selby.
"To win the World Championship is the target for the next few years," said Ding, who has claimed 13 ranking titles. "This is very hard, I know, because careers are quite short. I'm now just over 30. There is just only one thing, to keep going and find more chances to win."
Ding created his best result at the World Championship by reaching the final, where he also lost to world top-ranked Selby.
Ding and Xiao, ranked 25th in the world, will be joined by another pair of Chinese players in the 17-day tournament, with Marco Fu, from Hong Kong, China, taking on Lyu Haoxian in the first round.
Five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan will be up against former UK Champion Stephen Maguire in a repeat of their first round clashes in Sheffield in 2004 and 2005, both won by O'Sullivan.
Selby, champion in 2014, 2016 and 2017, will begin the defence of his title against Joe Perry.