The European Masters is set for a grandstand conclusion after four of snooker’s biggest stars made it through to the semi-finals on Friday.
Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson will fight it off for the €75,000 winner’s cheque in front of what will surely be approaching a sell-out crowd at the huge Circul Globus.
World champion Selby and Trump set up their clash against each other with dominant 4-0 whitewash victories over Alfie Burden and John Higgins respectively.
The pair controlled their quarter-final ties, both wrapping up their triumphs with century breaks.
In fact, while Trump finished with a 107, Selby went one better by climaxing with a brace of tons including a new tournament-high of 136.
Selby had run the risk earlier this season of losing the world no.1 spot he first regained after winning the German Masters in 2015, but three consecutive strong performances in ranking events – including emerging victorious in the Paul Hunter Classic – has seen him consolidate his top spot.
“I have been more consistent than at any other time in my career this year,” said the 33-year-old.
“I went through a phase of getting to finals and not converting them into wins. The difference this year is that I have been winning finals, other than the one against Ding Junhui in Shanghai last month.
“When I kept losing finals it really hurt and made me more hungry to work harder to get that extra edge. I have not changed anything technically, I have just become more determined.
“I know that when I’m not on my A game I can still scrap out wins and that’s a great thing to have in my locker.
“There are always young guns coming through trying to knock me off the perch, like Kyren Wilson and Anthony McGill who have won tournaments. I have will to win and keep going, rather than getting complacent.”
Indian Open champion McGill was hoping to join Selby in the penultimate round in Bucharest but came short in a grueling tussle with Robertson which included several lengthy frames.
Robertson eventually drew on his experience to pull away from 2-2, claiming a couple of scrappy frames to finally get over the winning post.
The Australian will meet O’Sullivan in a second mouthwatering clash on Saturday after the ‘Rocket’ continued his best run of the campaign with a 4-1 defeat of Mark Davis.
O’Sullivan and Robertson last met in the final of the Welsh Open earlier in 2016, which the former triumphed in to capture his last trophy of note.
A thrilling finale in store then for the inaugural professional tournament in Romania.
Between them the quartet have won an incredible 53 ranking event titles.
Who’ll be adding to their ever-growing tallies is anyone’s guess – who’s your money on?