All eight remaining contenders understand what it takes to win a ranking event.
World number one Judd Trump and reigning champion Neil Robertson are among those who will feature in the quarter-finals of the European Masters on Saturday.
After a frenetic first five days of action at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, 128 competitors have been whittled down to the last eight.
There were several upsets in the earlier rounds – notably Aaron Hill’s defeat of Ronnie O’Sullivan and fellow tour rookie Peter Devlin’s victory against Mark Williams.
Yet, once the business end of the competition came into sight the other marquee names began to rise to the occasion – as is so often the case.
Trump, a record six-time ranking event winner last season, has lost only two frames across his four match wins so far.
In the quarter-finals of the European Masters, a tournament he has triumphed in twice, the Englishman will face a familiar rival in Kyren Wilson.
The pair clashed barely a month ago when Wilson inflicted the “Curse of the Crucible” on Trump by knocking the then reigning world champion out in Sheffield.
Indeed, Trump and Wilson have encountered each other numerous times over the last few seasons, including in the final of March’s Gibraltar Open which the former won in a decider behind closed doors.
Also featuring in the bottom half of the draw are China’s Yan Bingtao and a resurgent Martin Gould.
Gould was in small danger of dropping off the tour ahead of the World Championship qualifiers in July, but the “Pinner Potter” safely negotiated the preliminaries and went all the way to the last 16.
The former German Masters champion has extended that revival in form into the new term, ending Devlin’s impressive debut in the fourth round to set up a clash with Yan.
The Chinese cueist, who in turn put an abrupt stop to Hill’s progress in the last 16, has triumphed in all three of his previous fixtures with Gould.
Very high-quality quarter-final lineup of the #EuropeanMasters here:
Neil Robertson 🇦🇺 vs. Shaun Murphy 🏴
Ding Junhui 🇨🇳 vs. Mark Selby 🏴
Judd Trump 🏴 vs. Kyren Wilson 🏴
Martin Gould 🏴 vs. Yan Bingtao 🇨🇳
Who will take the title out of this lovely lot? 🤔#snooker
— Cluster of Reds (@clusterofreds1) September 25, 2020
Meanwhile, defending champion Robertson features in what is an even more loaded upper-half section of the quarter-finals in the European Masters draw.
The 38 year-old ended the excellent run of another young newcomer by overcoming China’s Pang Junxu in round four.
The Australian, who memorably thrashed Zhou Yuelong 9-0 to lift the trophy in January, faces Shaun Murphy while Mark Selby entertains Ding Junhui.
Robertson, who can be backed with this Sky bet free bets offer, is somewhat notorious for getting new seasons off to a quick start, winning the first ranking event title of a campaign four times between 2014 and 2018.
The world number three boasts a far superior head-to-head record against Murphy, who was fortunate to outlast Tom Ford in a scrappy fourth-round affair on Friday that lasted the distance.
Selby, on the other hand, also won his last tie 5-4 but did so by conjuring up a trademark master of brinkmanship act.
The three-time world champion was 4-1 down to Stuart Bingham but reeled off breaks of 114, 72, 64, and 54 to turn the tables in dramatic fashion.
Selby and Ding, who outplayed Mark Allen to reach this stage after a similar all-or-nothing comeback against Lyu Haotian in the third round, briefly shared a rivalry at the very top of the sport in 2016 and 2017.
The duo clashed in several marquee moments around that time and they share a relatively even record against each other, but this is their first duel in more than two years.
A tiring schedule for the players means that the semi-finals will immediately follow the European Masters quarter-finals on Saturday.
That means that by the end of the day’s play, the two finalists will be known and we’ll be two steps closer to finding out the maiden winner of the 2020/21 campaign.
Live coverage continues on Eurosport.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)
Featured photo credit: WST