The English Open semi-finals take place on Saturday with one of the sport’s all-time great rivalries set for its latest chapter in Milton Keynes.
Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins will clash for the 73rd time as professional players when they encounter each other on Saturday afternoon at the Marshall Arena.
Later in the day, Neil Robertson entertains Mark King as the final quartet move to within touching distance of capturing the Steve Davis Trophy.
Let’s take a look at the two English Open semi-finals in a little more detail.
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs John Higgins (1pm)
Their first meeting was all the way back in the 1994 Dubai Classic, a match won by the Rocket, and since then they have contested literally dozens of memorable fixtures against one another on some of the biggest occasions the sport has to offer.
O’Sullivan boasts a slightly superior head-to-head record, but the truth is that they both know each other’s games inside out and any outcome is therefore possible.
In February, Higgins annihilated O’Sullivan in the final of the Players Championship but just three weeks later the Englishman got one back on his fellow Class of ’92 member in the Tour Championship.
When it comes to this pair every superlative in the dictionary has been used, and while the frequency of their appearances at the latter stages of tournaments doesn’t show any signs of subsiding, the amazing longevity of their careers continuously becomes more remarkable.
Higgins lost the last three frames to be denied victory in the recent Northern Ireland Open while O’Sullivan was a beaten finalist in an unprecedented five finals during an unusually barren 2020/21 campaign, but they are still persistently knocking on the door, and they probably will be doing so well into their fifties if they desire it.
On pure form from this week alone, O’Sullivan is producing the much better snooker and must be regarded as a marginal favourite, but Higgins has the ability to raise his game when it matters most, which makes this contest, as always, a must-watch affair.
Neil Robertson vs Mark King (7pm)
Neil Robertson lost in last year’s English Open final in a deciding frame, but the Australian was on the right side of a thriller on Friday when he pipped Kyren Wilson 5-4.
A terrific tie that included a flurry of sizable contributions from both players, Robertson fought back from 4-3 behind to deny the Warrior with breaks of 126 and 70 in the last two frames.
In the semi-finals of the English Open, the world number four will entertain Mark King who produced one of his best performances for years to knock out reigning champion Judd Trump.
King triumphed in one of the very first Home Nations tournaments five years ago when he tearfully prevailed in the 2016 Northern Ireland Open, and the 47 year-old admits that he’d love the opportunity to scrap for another title on Sunday.
King defied a miserable head-to-head record to see off the world number one on Friday, and he’ll have to do the very same again against Robertson.
Indeed, the latter boasts an 8-1 record from their prior battles with King’s lone success coming in a nondescript Championship League match behind closed doors 13 years ago.
Robertson will undoubtedly be a massive favourite to reach the final, but so too was Trump in the last round, and with 30 years of professional experience King has proven time and again in the past the battling qualities that he possesses.
Where to Watch the English Open
The tournament will be available to UK and Irish viewers on Quest TV in addition to blanket Eurosport coverage provided across all of Europe.
Various broadcasters around the world will be offering coverage (information here), while fans in territories without another service can access the event through Matchroom.Live.