There are eight players left in the hunt for glory in what is the first Home Nations series event of the campaign.
Defending champion Mark Selby and world number one Judd Trump are among the remaining contenders at the English Open quarter-final stage in Milton Keynes.
Neil Robertson, John Higgins, and Kyren Wilson also feature as five out of the world’s top seven in the official rankings list are still in the competition.
Selby and Trump have both been made to work very hard for their progress through to last eight at the Marshall Arena.
Between them, they have been involved in six deciders from their combined eight matches, each time being forced to fight back from behind in order to survive in the tournament.
Trump’s 4-3 defeat of Michael Holt in the last 32 on Thursday was the third time on the trot he retrieved a 3-1 deficit this week.
Selby repeated that turnaround in his last 16 defeat of Hossein Vafaei, having earlier pipped fellow former English Open champion Liang Wenbo in similar brinkmanship fashion.
Trump and Selby are on opposite sides of the draw and could potentially meet in Sunday’s final, where £70,000 is on offer for the tournament winner.
The latter faces Zhou Yuelong in his English Open quarter-final fixture, in which the format gets increased to the best-of-nine frames.
Selby and Zhou have only encountered each other twice in the past with one win apiece, but interestingly both of those meetings have finished with the duo needing all of the allotted frames.
The European Masters champion from last month, the “Jester” is not only bidding to defend this trophy but also extend his undefeated record from the 2020/21 campaign so far.
Neil Robertson is in the top half of the draw as well with the Australian set to face Robbie Williams for a place in the last four.
From five prior contests, it’s perhaps unsurprising to note that Robertson boasts the far superior record with four victories against the Englishman overall.
Trump, meanwhile, has the toughest task and will renew his rivalry with World Championship runner-up Wilson in what is the tie of the round.
Of course, Wilson was the man to inflict the “Curse of the Crucible” on Trump in the recent World Championship in Sheffield and, in fact, possesses the greater head-to-head record with eight victories from 14 previous clashes.
Trump did manage to beat Wilson at the same stage of the European Masters last month and in the final of last season’s Gibraltar Open when he claimed a record sixth ranking title of that term.
The 31 year-old is an odds-on bet with bet365 of 4/7 to negotiate the challenge of Wilson and he is the favourite to capture the silverware on Sunday in general, but it will likely be a close affair against his fellow Englishman.
Jak Jones emerges from late night snooker drama as a ranking event quarter finalist, for the very first time!
The Welshman has beaten compatriot Matthew Stevens in a decider, and will face legend of the sport John Higgins next.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) October 15, 2020
Four-time world champion Higgins is the other obvious threat from the bottom half of the draw, and the Scot’s English Open quarter-final challenge comes from an unlikely source in Jak Jones.
The Welshman made it through to the last eight of a ranking event for the first time in his career with a late-night 4-3 triumph against Ronnie O’Sullivan’s conqueror Matthew Stevens in the fourth round.
Higgins, who overcame Ding Junhui to reach this point, and Jones have played each other once before – four years ago in the International Championship when the former won easily with a 6-2 scoreline.
As has become the norm, the action will unfold behind closed doors as the business end of the event is completed over the weekend.
Live coverage is on Eurosport, Quest, and Matchroom.Live (depending on your location).
Click here to view the draw. (External Site -Times in CET)
Featured photo credit: WST