Neil Robertson became the first player to reach the Champion of Champions semi-finals in Coventry after the opening day dramatically concluded on Monday.
The Australian, who won this event in 2015, easily dispatched of an out-of-form Martin Gould in the last 16 with a comfortable 4-0 scoreline.
Robertson’s quarter-final fixture was a much more arduous outing as he fought back from 3-0 down to deny 2017 champion Shaun Murphy in a decider.
The latter had earlier emerged from another gruelling battle with women’s world champion Reanne Evans.
The Englishwoman was featuring in the invitational event for the first time in her career so the expectations to see how she would perform on the big stage were high.
It looked as though the occasion was going to get the better of the 34 year-old when she initially trailed Murphy 3-0 in a race to four.
However, Evans fought back splendidly to force a decider, only to not even get a chance for victory as her esteemed opponent compiled a timely century break of 130 to progress.
Murphy, who won the China Championship in Guangzhou in September, appeared to be somewhat buoyed by his narrow escape.
The 2005 world champion tallied breaks of 67 and 98 to immediately gain the initiative against Robertson before clinching a scrappy third.
Robertson subsequently discovered his scoring boots with a hat-trick of sizable contributions restoring parity.
Murphy was able to edge in front twice more but Robertson finished the stronger, ultimately winning the last two frames to advance to the semi-finals in Coventry for the fourth time.
🗣️ @nr147 speaks with @announcerphil after a dramatic group final which saw him knock out the 2017 champion Shaun Murphy. He faces the winner of the ‘Group of Death’ on Friday – O’Sullivan, White, Bingham, or Higgins? 🤔#ChampOfChamps pic.twitter.com/IbWZrYsRiw
— ChampionofChampions (@ChampOfChamps) November 4, 2019
The Champion of Champions features 16 competitors who have collected silverware in the last twelve months.
It’s unique in that it’s the only tournament on the calendar in which a semi-finalist is determined on each of the first four days.
Robertson now has the rest of the week to sit back and relax before his next encounter on Friday evening.
Tuesday’s “group” will see Mark Selby, Yan Bingtao, Mark Allen, and Matthew Selt vie for the second semi-final spot.
Selby, the recent English Open champion, has generally struggled to replicate his peak form in this tournament.
The former world number one faces Riga Masters champion Yan while Allen, the 2015 runner-up, meets debutant Selt.