By the end of the day’s action, the two finalists will be known.
The World Snooker Championship semi-finals will conclude at the Crucible Theatre on Saturday, with 2021’s fab four all still in with a shot of reaching the final.
Stuart Bingham and Kyren Wilson boast advantages in their respective ties against Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy, but there’s still a lot of snooker to be played in the penultimate round of this year’s competition.
After three out of the four sessions, Bingham has orchestrated a 13-11 lead against Mark Selby, going on a five-frame winning burst on Friday evening to transform his half-time two-frame deficit into a two-frame overnight buffer of his own.
Aside from a short spell of heavy scoring in the second half of the second session, it has been an unexpectedly cagey performance from Selby, but he is famed for his ability to win ugly, and by claiming two out of the last three frames in the third session he has given himself a big chance on Saturday.
Indeed, you’d probably still make the three-time former world champion the favourite from here, particularly given his knack for prevailing in tight contests.
Selby, of course, dramatically lost a close semi-finals affair at the Crucible Theatre last August when he was denied a place in the final by eventual champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in a 17-16 classic, so the world number four will be out to avoid a repeat outcome.
Bingham, though, is a man for the big occasion, and the 2015 world champion is a rare breed of player who has actually never tasted defeat at the single table set-up in Sheffield.
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In the other last four clash, Wilson possesses a 10-6 lead against Murphy but may oddly be disappointed to not be in front by a greater margin.
The latter crucially won the last two frames of their second session to give himself a fighting chance of a comeback, providing an additional fist pump for the crowd to suggest that the 2005 world champion isn’t about to give up the ghost just yet.
Murphy will know that anything less than a sharing of the third session’s eight frames will likely lead to his impending exit, and he’ll really be seeking to win that bout to place a more prominent seed of doubt into his opponent’s mind.
Wilson, the runner-up in 2020, has been composed throughout but could potentially rue wasted opportunities in the 15th and 16th frames when he was firmly in the ascendancy.
Still, needing seven more frames the Kettering cueist is on track for a repeat appearance in the final and he’d be very disappointed if he were to fail in seeing it through now.
Either way, it promises to be an intriguing day as four becomes two in Sheffield.
Featured photo credit: WST