China Open quarter-finals
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Preview: China Open Quarter-Finals

Neil Robertson remains on course for a third title of the season after reaching the China Open quarter-finals in Beijing.

The Australian has already bagged a brace of trophies in what has arguably been the best and most consistent spell of his entire career.

Robertson triumphed in the campaign-opening Riga Masters and February’s Welsh Open, in addition to reaching the finals of three other ranking tournaments.

After falling 3-1 behind to Mei Xiwen in his last 32 fixture on Wednesday, Robertson has won 11 frames on the bounce in the Chinese capital city.

That run included a 6-0 drubbing of Lu Ning in the last 16 that helped him ease through to the China Open quarter-finals, where he’ll meet Sam Craigie.

While reaching this stage of a competition has become like second nature to Robertson, with the 37 year-old now the tournament favourite following the exit of so many of the other marquee names, Craigie is set to make his debut appearance in the last eight.

The 2010 world under-21 champion has been on and off the circuit since 2011 but the 25 year-old is widely perceived as a genuine talent.

Craigie upset home hopeful Liang Wenbo 6-2 in the third round to set up an interesting meeting against Robertson.

Funnily enough, the pair crossed paths in last year’s China Open with the latter just about prevailing courtesy of a narrow 6-5 victory.

Elsewhere in the top half of the draw, Luca Brecel will face veteran Alan McManus.

Belgium’s Brecel has been struggling for form for the best part of a year and a half but has appeared to have timed his return to the mix perfectly.

The 24 year-old’s place in this month’s World Championship is assured, due mostly to his standout success in last season’s China Championship, and he could be a danger at the Crucible if he discovers his A-game again.

Brecel hammered Hossein Vafaei in a dominant whitewash display on Thursday and will be the favourite against McManus to advance to the last four.

McManus prevailed in a battle of Scots against Anthony McGill courtesy of a 6-3 scoreline.

The £27,000 that the 1994 Masters champion has already earned for his performances this week has helped to guarantee his tour safety for another campaign.

McManus, now 48, hasn’t reached a ranking event semi-final since his memorable run to the last four of the 2016 World Championship.

However, Brecel boasts a 100% success rate from the previous two times the duo has met.

Meanwhile, another player from Scotland and three Englishmen will contest the bottom section of the China Open quarter-finals draw.

The only clash that sees a couple of top 16 members go head-to-head is arguably the match of the round between Stuart Bingham and Jack Lisowski.

Lisowski defied a broken tip near the end of his encounter with Li Hang, fighting back from 4-2 behind to dispatch of the last Chinese contender 6-4.

Maximum man Bingham, who compiled a 147 break in the second round, hammered Rod Lawler 6-1.

Twice a ranking event winner this term, Bingham will go into the tie as the favourite but Lisowski’s scoring power can never rule him out and the “Dude” did beat Bingham in the first round at Sheffield last year.

Finally, Scott Donaldson and Ben Woollaston will do battle in a clash that guarantees an unexpected semi-finalist.

By reaching his third quarter-final in just two months, Donaldson is quietly coming under the radar as one of the fast-improving players.

Woollaston, on the other hand, has been stagnant in his progress of late and this run represents a first strong showing in the best part of two years.

The Welshman has more experience overall but this one is close to call, not helped by the fact that they have never met each other before.

Woollaston and Donaldson, along with McManus, can still make an unlikely late leap into the top 16 in the world rankings, which would guarantee an automatic berth in this year’s World Championship, if they can go on to lift the title in China.

Live coverage of the China Open quarter-finals is on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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