Snooker - Perry to meet rank outsider at the Crucible

Joe Perry in action.
Joe Perry in action.
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Joe Perry has been drawn against China’s Zhang Anda in the first round of the 2015 Betfred World Championship, which starts on Saturday (April 18).

Perry, from Chatteris, is ranked nine in the world rankings following a first major title win last month when he beat Mark Williams 4-3 in the Players Championship final in Bangkok.

Anda is the world number 98 and will be the lowest ranked qualifier in action at the Crucible. He earned his place in the last 32 by beating Liang Wenbo 10-9 in a Chinese derby. Zhang made a break of 134 to make it 7-7, then lost the next two frames, but he hit back to win the last three.

Zhang reached the last 16 of a full ranking event for the first time in his career at the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open. He won four matches before losing to Mark Selby in Bendigo.

He reached the final of the 2012 Asian Under 21 Championship, though he lost 6-2 to Iran’s Hossein Ayouri.

Zhang’s debut season on the professional tour in 2009/10 was highlighted by a spectacular run in the World Championship.

He knocked out Craig Steadman, John Parrott and Andrew Higginson to reach the final qualifying round, then stunned Ricky Walden 10-8 with breaks of 134 and 103 in the last two frames.

That earned him a debut at the Crucible and he could hardly have been handed a more exciting first round clash as the random draw pitched him against seven-times champion Stephen Hendry. Zhang rose to the occasion and looked set to spring a massive surprise when he led 9-7, only for Hendry to fight back and win 10-9.

Perry’s match takes place on Wednesday.

Defending champion Mark Selby faces Kurt Maflin, who beat Steve Davis in qualifying, in the first round.

Selby won his first world title in 2014 after beating Ronnie O’Sullivan, who takes on debutant Craig Steadman.

Four-time winner John Higgins opens against Robert Milkins, Australian Neil Robertson plays Wales’ Jamie Jones and England’s Judd Trump faces debutant Stuart Carrington.

THE FIRST ROUND DRAEW

Mark Selby v Kurt Maflin

Stephen Maguire v Anthony McGill

Joe Perry v Zhang Anda

Shaun Murphy v Robin Hull

Barry Hawkins v Matthew Selt

Mark Allen v Ryan Day

Ali Carter v Alan McManus

Neil Robertson v Jamie Jones

Ding Junhui v Mark Davis

John Higgins v Rob Milkins

Marco Fu v Jimmy Robertson

Judd Trump v Stuart Carrington

Ricky Walden v Graeme Dott

Stuart Bingham v Robbie Williams

Mark Williams v Matthew Stevens

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Craig Steadman