semi-finals Players Championship
Main News, Ranking

Players Championship Semi-Finals Draw and Preview

The players are halfway towards pocketing the £125,000 top prize.

The semi-finals of the Players Championship begin later on Friday at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

Four competitors are still in with a shot of winning the ranking title after emerging unscathed from the first two rounds.

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Barry Hawkins

The first of the two Players Championship semi-finals on Friday evening is a repeat of the 2013 World Snooker Championship final.

English duo Ronnie O’Sullivan and Barry Hawkins go head-to-head for a place in Sunday’s title decider.

In terms of scorelines, their respective routes to this stage have been relatively similar.

Both players needed all eleven frames in their first round defeats of Ding Junhui and Zhou Yuelong, before Hawkins comfortably overcame Stuart Bingham 6-2 and O’Sullivan thrashed Jack Lisowski 6-1 in the last eight.

With regard to standard, though, few displays this season have matched that which the Rocket produced in his quarter-final humbling of Lisowski.

The world champion was in scintillating form, compiling a brace of centuries and four more big breaks in a lightning-quick rout.

O’Sullivan has responded well after the disappointment of losing last week’s Welsh Open final to surprise underdog Jordan Brown at the Celtic Manor.

The Rocket is bidding for a third Players Championship crown in four editions of the competition and his form has generally been excellent this month.

Hawkins, meanwhile, will be buoyed by a second run the semi-finals of a ranking event since the turn of the year – after failing to feature in the last four at all during 2020.

The return to form has been timely, with the Hawk now in a much healthier state in the provisional top 16 rankings race that will determine the automatic seeding spots for the Crucible.

Hawkins and O’Sullivan’s most famous battle was in Sheffield eight years ago when the latter secured the fifth of his six world triumphs.

Three years later, Hawkins got a modicum of revenge at the same venue but that counts as one of only two ranking event victories over O’Sullivan.

The former world number one will undoubtedly be a heavy favourite, and if he can perform to a similar peak to what he conjured against Lisowski, Hawkins will surely be in trouble.

Kyren Wilson vs John Higgins

Kyren Wilson and John Higgins will contest the second Players Championship semi-finals clash on Saturday evening.

Higgins has won an amazing twelve frames out of twelve in the tournament so far.

The Scot brought Jordan Brown back down to earth with a bagel drubbing on Wednesday before somewhat shockingly repeating the process against Mark Selby, who managed just seven points in total from the one-sided affair.

Since making an adjustment to his technique earlier in the campaign, Higgins has completely transformed his form and is looking once again like one of the very best players in the world.

The Masters runner-up hasn’t won a ranking title for three years but is looking well-placed to challenge on this occasion.

Wilson, to his credit, has also played strongly and has only dropped three frames in beating both Ryan Day and Neil Robertson.

The Kettering cueist has only won twice from nine meetings against Higgins, but when their Championship League ties are taken out of the equation their head-to-head is actually locked at a pair of victories apiece.

Wilson, in fact, got the better of their last battle by a narrow 5-4 margin in last year’s World Grand Prix.

This semi-final is definitely the more evenly matched of the two on paper, and even though Higgins has represented a dominant force so far this week, it wouldn’t be too much of a shock if this one required every allotted frame to determine who goes through.

Players Championship Semi-Finals Draw

Friday, 7pm
Barry Hawkins (9) vs Ronnie O’Sullivan (4)

Saturday, 7pm
Kyren Wilson (6) vs John Higgins (10)

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.

Featured photo credit: WST

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.