Defending champion Mark Allen and three English competitors will contest the last four of the Scottish Open on Saturday in Glasgow.
Northern Ireland’s Allen was frustrated at being given an early start time but still emerged comfortably from his tie with Scott Donaldson, ending home interest with a 5-1 defeat of the 25 year-old.
Allen later complained that, as the reigning champion, he shouldn’t have been given so many early morning or late night starts this week.
The plus side for the 33 year-old is that he will have had the most time to recover on Friday.
Allen has played well throughout this campaign but he’ll be attempting to make it sixth time lucky in terms of getting beyond the semi-final stage of a competition since August.
The former Masters champion will face Jack Lisowski in the last four after the “Dude” edged Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in a high scoring battle.
Many fans were disappointed that a clash between two of the game’s most attack-minded players wasn’t on the TV table, and the pair proved them right as they traded eight breaks above 60 between them.
Lisowski, who compiled a tournament-high run of 143 in the third frame, was always in front and held off the Thai for a 5-3 win.
Eurosport wanted to show it. World Snooker put it on table 2.
— David Hendon (@davehendon) December 13, 2019
The fixture between Allen and Lisowski promises to be another belter in the waiting.
Allen is bidding to defend a ranking title for the second time in his career – previously achieving the feat at the World Open half a dozen years ago.
On the other hand, Lisowski is hoping that this will be the weekend when he unlocks his full potential and finally etches his name onto a piece of silverware.
The 28 year-old, who has rapidly risen into the top 16 in the last couple of years, has been denied at the final hurdle twice in that spell.
David Gilbert is the only player who tops that level of failure – failure at the very highest level, that is – with three defeats in ranking event finals to his name since the start of last season, and four in total.
The “Angry Farmer” may have another opportunity to set the record straight after an impressive 5-2 ousting of world champion Judd Trump in the last eight.
Gilbert’s opponent will be Mark Selby, who fought back from 4-3 down in an entertaining affair to pip Ronnie O’Sullivan in a decider.
The former will be seeking revenge when he faces Selby having been humbled by the three-time world champion in the final of the English Open earlier this term.
With the Scottish Open representing the last ranking event of this decade, it’s worth noting that Selby has in fact triumphed the most times in a tournament of this status in that time.
Since 2010, the “Jester” has collected 15 ranking titles, one more than the player he managed to beat in the quarter-finals.
Aside from Selby’s 9-1 thrashing of Gilbert in Crawley, the three-time world champion boasts a 6-2 superior head-to-head record against his countryman.
Interestingly, though, Allen has only beaten Lisowski once from five previous meetings with the Cheltenham cueist.