Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump will face each other in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Masters after winning their opening ties at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium on Friday.
In front of huge crowds amid an electric atmosphere in this inaugural invitational, the pair of Englishmen set up a mouthwatering encounter after hard-fought victories in the last eight.
O’Sullivan overcame old foe John Higgins in a tight tussle which went the distance and had plenty of twists and turns.
The “Rocket” got off to the better start, winning the opening two frames to take an early command.
However, Higgins responded brilliantly with runs of 87 and 72 to draw level at the mid-session interval and further breaks of 61 and 81 brought him to the brink of victory.
The Scot had chances in the remaining frames to seal the win but a break of 65, modestly O’Sullivan’s only half-century tally, reduced the arrears to one and the five-time world champion snatched the final couple of frames to the delight of the fans.
Earlier on the second day of action in Hong Kong, Trump held off a late comeback from Shaun Murphy to prevail 5-3 against his countryman.
Trump began like a train with breaks of 83 and 100 helping him to a 3-0 lead in no time whatsoever.
Yet, as so often is the case with the former world number one, the 27 year-old somewhat needlessly let his opponent back into proceedings and it could have become dicey when a run of 76 brought Murphy back to just one behind at 4-3.
Trump survived, though, steeling himself with a nice 92 in the last to book his spot in Saturday’s semi-finals.
This has been a terrific tournament so far already, as would be expected with seven out of the world’s top eight ranked players in action along with O’Sullivan.
What’s making it even more enthralling is the venue, set-up, and crowd.
It’s only a shame that more people in the European side of the world can’t have easier access to the broadcasts, albeit there are plenty of streams of Facebook if you are really keen on following the play this weekend.
What a treat it is too, with O’Sullivan and Trump’s bout going alongside home favourite Marco Fu’s tussle with Neil Robertson.
Any spare tickets?