There’ll be no top 16 players in the Riga Masters quarter-final stage as the first ranking event of the campaign reaches its conclusion in Latvia this Sunday.
Mark Selby and Jack Lisowski had been the two remaining players from the elite bracket but the pair of Englishmen bowed out with respective losses in the last 16.
Selby was downed 4-2 by Stuart Carrington while Mark Joyce accounted for last year’s runner-up Lisowski in a decider – setting up an unlikely clash with one another.
This year’s edition has been badly effected by a mixture of non-entries and the failure of several players to reach the Latvian capital city on the back of flight delays and cancellations.
Only two of the contenders left in the Riga Masters quarter-final have managed to previously triumph in ranking competitions.
Matthew Selt, who enjoyed success in last season’s Indian Open, and former Northern Ireland Open champion Mark King face off in the final day’s opening session.
Interestingly, this tie is the only one of the four in which there is a head-to-head record to reference.
There’s not much to go on, though, with their only prior meeting taking place eight years ago in a qualifying round for the UK Championship that Selt edged 6-4.
The other couple of last eight fixtures feature three Chinese players who are bidding to become only the third from their nation to capture ranking event glory.
Yan Bingtao, who came agonisingly close to becoming the youngest ever ranking event winner in 2017 when he was pipped to the title by Mark Williams in a thriller, plays countryman Li Hang.
It’s an enormous opportunity for both cueists but, for teenager Yan in particular who is widely tipped as a genuine star in the making, this weekend could potentially be huge.
On the opposite side of the draw lies fellow 19 year-old Luo Honghao, the winner of last year’s inaugural World Snooker Federation Championship.
Luo hammered Gary Wilson 4-0 and will take on Norway’s Kurt Maflin for a place in the semi-finals.
💬 “I have no pressure about losing”
Luo Honghao can take only one positive from his Crucible debut, a 10-0 defeat to Shaun Murphy.
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) July 27, 2019
This Riga Masters climax might not go down as the most star-studded affair but there’s still £50,000 at stake for the winner on Sunday evening.
Six of those players will be seeking to etch their names on some silverware for the first time, so there’s bound to be plenty of nerves on display at the Arena Riga.