Judd Trump and Neil Robertson remain on course for a mouthwatering clash after each booked a German Masters semi-final spot on Friday in Berlin.
Despite a high number of star casualties in the qualifiers and early on this week at the venue stages, the last four line-up is a strong one with Shaun Murphy and Graeme Dott also still in the fold.
Trump and Robertson recorded routine victories on the third day at the Tempodrom to keep alive their chances of meeting in Sunday’s final.
The world number one dropped only a single frame as he raced away from Michael Georgiou to secure a 5-1 win.
The Cypriot compiled a nice 112 break but Trump, the 2014 runner-up, was in devastating form as he made contributions of 129, 119, 81, 77, and 73 to comfortably progress.
The world champion will face Dott in his German Masters semi-final after the Scot emerged with a 5-2 triumph over Matthew Selt.
Dott reached the final two years ago when he was duly thrashed 9-1 by Mark Williams, so the 42 year-old will be looking to redeem himself this weekend.
With the race to the Crucible now even more pressing following the news that the China Open will be postponed this season, a strong run from Dott could potentially have huge implications regarding his ambitions to return to the top 16 before Sheffield.
It’s 13 years since Dott last won a ranking event but his esteemed opponent won five in 2019 alone.
After a minor blip in which he suffered early exits in both the UK Championship and the Masters, Trump appears to be back at his brilliant best.
Trump and Dott share an interesting head-to-head record, with five victories apiece, but the Englishman must be regarded as the favourite on current form overall.
Great atmosphere inside the venue tonight for tonight’s game with the unplayable @judd147t ! Too good tonight for me! Best of luck for the rest of the event!
— Michael Georgiou (@mikegeorgiou147) January 31, 2020
The second German Masters semi-final on Saturday pits another two former world champions against each other in Robertson and Murphy.
Robertson’s displays in the last week or so have been so dominant that he has won 29 out of his last 30 frames in all competitions.
The Australian won five on the spin to beat Ali Carter 6-1 in last week’s European Masters semi-finals before romping to success in Austria with a 9-0 destruction of Zhou Yuelong.
After taking the short trip into neighbouring Germany, Robertson dropped one frame against Ian Burns before back-to-back whitewashes were recorded against Mitchell Mann and Elliot Slessor.
In the last eight, the 37 year-old tallied breaks of 133, 101, 94, 73, and 53 in a contest as one-sided as they come.
With £20,000 guaranteed for a berth in the last four, Robertson is simultaneously strengthening his position at the top of the European Series mini-rankings list.
The player who performs the best across the European Masters, German Masters, Shoot Out, and Gibraltar Open quartet of ranking events will receive a £150,000 bonus this season.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s road to this stage has been slightly more arduous, particularly in the last round when he had to win three out of the last four frames to see off Zhao Xintong 5-3.
Somewhat interestingly, Robertson boasts a far superior head-to-head record versus Murphy from their previous meetings with one another.
The “Magician” will be expected to take more frames off the former world number one than most have of late.
However, Robertson is riding a wave of confidence at present and it looks as though it’s going to take something special to stop him.
Several will have the barnstorming Champion of Champions final fresh in their memories and a repeat showdown between the Melbourne man and Trump is probably what many are hoping for.