China Open semi-finals
News, Ranking, Tournaments

Preview: China Open Semi-Finals

Neil Robertson remains the favourite as he powered his way through to the China Open semi-finals on Friday in Beijing.

The Australian found himself in a spot of bother when he was 3-1 down at the mid-session interval against Mei Xiwen in the last 32 on Wednesday.

But Robertson has since gone on an incredible streak, winning 17 frames in a row to see off Mei, Lu Ning, and latest whitewash victim Sam Craigie.

One of the players of the season with two titles and three additional final appearances to his name, Robertson is the highest ranked competitor left in the draw.

In the China Open semi-finals, the 37 year-old will face Luca Brecel in an exciting looking affair.

The Belgian recorded a second successive hammering of his own, scoring a hat-trick of tons in following up his 6-0 triumph over Hossein Vafaei with a 6-1 battering of veteran Alan McManus.

It marks Brecel’s first run to the last four of a ranking event this season after a difficult spell in which he has failed to live up to his top 16 ranking.

The 24 year-old has the ability to produce elite level snooker but his lack of consistency is what holds him back from reaching the higher echelons of the sport.

Brecel’s standout success of his professional career came in China during the last campaign when he tasted glory in the China Championship.

To contest another title decider in Asia, the former European amateur champion will have to overcome Robertson for the first time having twice been previously defeated by the Melbourne man.

Robertson would be the favourite in any format but, over the increased best of 19 frames, his stock rises even further.

On the other side of the China Open semi-finals draw, Jack Lisowski and Scott Donaldson will do battle for the other spot in Sunday’s final.

The pair emerged from tough quarter-final clashes to prolong what has been successful seasons for both already.

Lisowski’s chase for a maiden ranking crown continued in the narrowest of fashions after a dramatic 6-5 victory over Stuart Bingham that concluded on the final black.

The 27 year-old’s gutsy 52 clearance highlighted a growing trait of being able to get the job done even when his back is against the wall.

Donaldson, meanwhile, made it third time lucky from his appearances in the last eight in 2019 when he edged Ben Woollaston 6-4.

The Scot has been quietly going under the radar in the last couple of seasons, notably rising up through the ranks this season and into the world’s top 50.

Interestingly, Donaldson and Lisowski have met three times in the past and on all three occasions the former has come out on top.

Still, in a race to ten frames the “Dude” would have be given the edge, in addition to the fact that he is somewhat more acclimatised to this stage of competition play.

Other than a potential debut showdown for silverware, where a whopping £225,000 will be on offer for the champion this weekend, Donaldson also has the extra weight to carry of knowing that triumphing in this tournament would also see him rise into the top 16 in the world rankings in time to gain an automatic berth in this year’s World Championship.

All to play for in the Chinese capital city.

Both China Open semi-finals will be live on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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