The World Open final will be between Joe Perry and Ali Carter after contrasting last four victories for the Englishmen on Saturday.
While Perry reached his third ranking event final in as many years with a stunning performance of break-building against close pal Neil Robertson, Carter’s triumph over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh was orchestrated more through resilience rather than style.
Carter didn’t even boast a break above 40 but still had more than enough in overcoming the talented Thai who was unable to replicate the kind of form that saw him knock out world champion Mark Selby and Indian Open winner Anthony McGill in previous rounds.
The 6-1 success marks the first time since the 2013 German Masters that Carter has featured in the final of a ranking event – a tournament which he also won to capture the last of his three trophies at this level.
It also completes a wonderful turnaround for the ‘Captain’ after overcoming serious cancer scares, particularly in 2014 when his ranking duly suffered heavily as a result.
However, victory on Sunday would ensure the 37 year-old’s timely return to the elite top 16, which of course would count towards any chances of an invitation to the likes of the prestigious Masters later in the season.
Carter will likely have to produce some better snooker should he wish to land the title in Yushan, though, especially if Perry reproduces the kind of dominant display he conjured in his semi-final win.
The 41 year-old played one of the matches of his career as he reeled off three consecutive tons after the mid-session interval to pull away from favourite Robertson.
A 91 in the last frame, in addition to earlier runs of 70 and 63, ensured a remarkable 6-2 drubbing of the Australian.
Perry has been a solid professional for more than two decades but has arguably produced his best snooker in the twilight years of his career, highlighted by his maiden ranking success at the Players Championship in 2015.
Should the Cambridge cueist emerge victorious tomorrow, he will jump into the top 8 in the world rankings for the first time in his long career.
Perry and Carter have met each other on many occasions, dating all the way back to the 2000 World Championship qualifiers.
The ‘Gentleman’ has the marginally better head-to-head record with seven wins to six in his favour – excluding their other clashes in the short format Championship League.
The pair hadn’t locked horns many times in the last number of years, although did face one another in the 2016 World Grand Prix, where Perry defeated Carter 4-1.
However, over the best of 19 frames there will be plenty more opportunity for twists and turns to occur.
So after a busy week in China it is perhaps a final between two unexpected players, but a duo with bundles of experience and pedigree on the big stage.
Who will come out on top?
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