Marco Fu thrilled his legion of home support as the inaugural Hong Kong Masters got under way at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium on Thursday.
The Hong Kong star came from 3-1 down to beat Barry Hawkins 5-3 and reach the last four of the lucrative invitational tournament.
The top eight players in the world rankings were invited to compete in the Hong Kong Masters, with only Ding Junhui from that elite bracket not in the line-up, being replaced by Ronnie O’Sullivan.
In front of a huge and enthusiastic crowd that generated an electric atmosphere, Fu fought back from two frames down against Hawkins, winning four frames on the trot and completing the victory with a marvellous 132 century break.
Later on Thursday, Neil Robertson got the better of world champion Mark Selby by a similar two-frame margin.
In a somewhat cagey affair, both players looked like they were still dusting off the cobwebs as this new season is yet to gather any momentum – with Selby undertaking his first outing since capturing a third Crucible crown in early May.
Robertson, struggling for form these days, looked edgy at times as well but finished strongly with a 108 to seal the triumph against the world number one.
The Australian will meet Fu in what will be a highly anticipated semi-final on Saturday.
Before that, the remaining two quarter-final fixtures take place on Friday with old rivals O’Sullivan and John Higgins set for another battle in the evening session.
Earlier in the afternoon, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy will clash in an all-English affair.
Unfortunately, with the event broadcast only locally it is difficult for fans in Europe to watch this event, which is a shame as it’s such a brilliant field.
If you’re that way inclined, there are streams available throughout the interwebs and particularly on Facebook.