Stuart Bingham and Ryan Day will contest the final of the inaugural Romanian Snooker Masters on Sunday in Bucharest.
Bingham won the last five frames of his semi-final encounter with Ali Carter to beat his fellow Englishman 5-2, while Day continued his outstanding run with a 5-0 drubbing of Kyren Wilson.
Welshman Day has now won ten matches on the spin and has reached a second successive final following his triumph in last week’s Gibraltar Open.
The 37 year-old’s only slight misgiving is that his stellar form has come at a time when he emerged successful in the season’s lowest funded ranking event and subsequently in a tournament that doesn’t even boast ranking points.
Whether he wins or loses at the Circul Metropolitan against Bingham in today’s showdown, Day’s immediate attention will surely be turning to next week’s Players Championship, where he’ll be attempting to usurp Mark Allen in 16th place in the world rankings in order to gain an automatic place into next month’s World Championship.
In fact, Day could even move ahead of Bingham in the provisional Race to the Crucible standings after Llandudno as the latter hasn’t qualified for that lucrative event.
That’s generally as a result of Bingham’s ban for betting earlier in this campaign that saw him forced out of competition for three months.
Indeed, the former world champion’s run to the final this week is the first time he’ll feature in a showdown for glory since before all that unfortunate business, which has undoubtedly damaged his reputation within the game, escalated.
Bingham lost in the European Masters decider in October and it was the Welsh Open just over a year ago when the 41 year-old last collected some silverware.
While the Romanian Masters might only be an invitational, both players will still be desperate to add another trophy to their cabinets, not to mention reap the rewards of a €50,000 pay packet.
It’s difficult to separate the two when it comes to their previous run-ins with one another, with their head-to-head record locked at an even seven wins apiece.
Their most recent clash occurred just a month ago at the World Grand Prix in Preston when Day triumphed with a 4-2 scoreline but this fixture will carry a completely different weight, especially as the format for the final increases to the best of 19 frames.
The pair has met only once over that distance, way back in the qualifying rounds for the 2006 World Championship, with Day coming out on top on that occasion with a 10-7 victory.
Given his form in March, Day arguably starts the battle as the slight favourite but Bingham will be motivated to take another step in putting what has been a difficult period in his career behind him.