The 2019 Welsh Open final will be contested between Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on Sunday.
The pair of former world champions emerged from last four encounters in which they were heavy favourites as comfortable winners.
Bingham first overcame Joe O’Connor in superb fashion – compiling four century breaks in a 6-2 rout that ended the rookie’s memorable run.
In Saturday’s evening session, maximum man Robertson continued his fine scoring in this tournament with a 140 total clearance helping the Aussie to a 6-0 hiding of Hossein Vafaei.
Robertson and Bingham are both set to compete in a Welsh Open title decider for the third time, with each possessing a record of one triumph and one defeat.
Bingham prevailed two years ago when he edged Judd Trump 9-8 while the “Thunder from Down Under” won by the same narrow margin twelve years ago when he denied Andrew Higginson in Newport.
The duo is each also bidding for a second ranking title this season following Robertson’s success in the campaign-opener in Riga and Bingham’s English Open glory last October.
Additionally, Bingham could become the first player to capture three Home Nations trophies since the series was launched in 2016.
The Home Nations series is made up of the Welsh, English, Northern Ireland, and Scottish Opens – the latter event won by Robertson in 2017.
Eight out of the 11 Home Nations title deciders in total have either gone the distance or lasted all but one of the allotted 17 frames, including all three showdowns this term that have resulted in a hat-trick of 9-7 scorelines.
However, the recent form book doesn’t appear to point towards another close encounter.
💬 “I can’t remember being 23”@Stuart__Bingham avoided becoming the fourth top 16 scalp of rookie Joe O’Connor’s magic run at the @manbetxofficial Welsh Open.
‘Ball Run’ booked his final spot with four centuries in five frames! #WelshOpen pic.twitter.com/W50Ww1jUBg
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) February 16, 2019
Bingham, in fact, boasts a superior head-to-head record against Robertson but the five-time ranking event winner has suffered whitewash losses in each of his last two clashes with the 37 year-old.
In last year’s China Open, Robertson hammered Bingham 6-0 and it was only a couple of weeks ago in Berlin that the 2010 world champion repeated the bagel in the German Masters.
Given his wealth of experience at this stage, Robertson probably represents the slight favourite as he searches for a 15th ranking title.
Even though his semi-final affair was easy, Robertson’s route to the final has been anything but straightforward and he has twice come from two frames down with three to play to pinch an unlikely victory in a decider.
Robertson, who compiled a 147 break in his first round tie against Jordan Brown, could be forgiven for starting to believe that his name might already be etched onto the trophy.
But Bingham’s level of play has been terrific this week, underlined by the fact that he has tallied an impressive ten century breaks in the tournament to reach this point.
Either way, despite the fact there were numerous giant-killings throughout the event, the final is still between two members of the elite, ensuring that a grandstand finale could be in store.