The number sixteen has already been whittled down to eight in the race for the £125,000 cheque.
The quarter-finals of the Players Championship get under way later on Wednesday at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
After safely negotiating their opening fixtures, the remaining contenders need three more victories to emerge with the trophy on Sunday night.
Stuart Bingham vs Barry Hawkins
Stuart Bingham faces Barry Hawkins in an all-English tie that commences the next stage of the latest ranking event.
The pair needed all eleven of their allotted frames to see off the challenges of reigning champion Judd Trump and China’s Zhou Yuelong in the last 16.
Both performances were impressive and needed in their respective battles to feature in the top 16 of the world rankings at a crucial juncture of the season – with the World Snooker Championship not far away.
In the official two-year rankings Hawkins currently lies outside the elite bracket, but his victory over Zhou crucially sees him rise to 13th on the provisional Race to the Crucible list.
For Bingham, it’s a completely different story, with Ballrun in 14th on the official standings but way down in 22nd provisionally.
This clash takes on extra importance then as they bid to reach the semi-final of a lucrative tournament.
Their head-to-head is extremely close overall, although somewhat strangely they haven’t encountered each other in a match away from the Championship League since 2011.
Neil Robertson vs Kyren Wilson
In contrast to Bingham and Hawkins, Neil Robertson and Kyren Wilson’s pathways through to the quarter-finals of the Players Championship so far have been relaxed.
Robertson thumped Lu Ning with the aid of four century breaks while Wilson repeated the same 6-1 scoreline against Ryan Day.
Both players have already tasted success this season, with Wilson winning the first Championship League of the term before Robertson’s splendid triumph in the UK Championship.
The latter revealed that he skipped last week’s Welsh Open to protect his mental health ahead of another busy period on the schedule.
The Australian boasts a 3-2 advantage on Wilson from their prior meetings, but interestingly the Kettering cueist inflicted a bagel on the Melbourne man the last time they crossed paths in last year’s Welsh Open.
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Jack Lisowski
Ronnie O’Sullivan bounced back well from the disappointment of losing the Welsh Open final on Sunday.
The Rocket held off Ding Junhui in a deciding frame for their third successive meeting to set up a contest against Jack Lisowski.
Lisowski generally had an easier time of it during his 6-3 defeat of the Pinner Potter, Martin Gould.
Both O’Sullivan and Lisowski have enjoyed pretty good campaigns, but they do share the unfortunate stat of having lost in five out of the last seven ranking event finals between them since November.
With two prior duels to reference, Lisowski will know that he has his work cut out for him having won just three frames across two heavy reverses in the past.
Mark Selby vs John Higgins
With seven world titles between them, there’s an abundance of experience on offer in the last of the Players Championship quarter-finals.
Higgins was in scintillating form as he thrashed Jordan Brown 6-0 with the aid of three century breaks.
The Masters runner-up brought the Northern Irishman back down to earth after the highs of Brown’s shock success at the Celtic Manor last week.
In the last eight, Higgins will take on Mark Selby, who overcame Mark Williams 6-4 in a tough encounter to wrap up proceedings in the first round.
Selby and Higgins have met on 30 occasions in all competitions, with many of those high-profile affairs.
Higgins holds an inferior record but has actually won their last two contests that took place in ranking events – including in this very tournament two years ago.
Players Championship Quarter-Finals Draw
Stuart Bingham (16) vs Barry Hawkins (9)
Jack Lisowksi (5) vs Ronnie O’Sullivan (4)
Neil Robertson (3) vs Kyren Wilson (6)
John Higgins (10) vs Mark Selby (2)
Where to Watch the Players Championship
The tournament will be available to UK and Irish viewers on ITV4 in addition to blanket Eurosport coverage provided to the rest of Europe.
Fans around the world will have various other options available to them, which you can find more details for here.
As has become the norm since last year, the tournament in its entirety will be staged behind closed doors.
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