The German Masters draw is down to its final four contenders with just two victories separating the remaining players from the £80,000 top prize.
A new king at the Tempodrom is guaranteed after reigning champion Judd Trump fell on Friday in addition to fellow former winners Mark Selby and Kyren Wilson.
The quartet will all definitely feature in the upcoming Players Championship, so full focus can be reserved for this weekend’s efforts to lift the Brandon Parker Trophy.
Zhao Xintong vs Ricky Walden (1pm)
Zhao Xintong and Ricky Walden emerged as the last two men standing in the top half of the German Masters draw after dispatching the last two champions in Berlin.
A pair of 5-1 victories accounted for Trump and Wilson, setting up an interesting battle that few would have predicted at the outset of the tournament.
With confidence clearly high following his superb UK Championship triumph from December, Zhao is looking to quickly build on that breakthrough success at the Barbican Centre.
If the 24 year-old can land another ranking title it will send an immediate message to the established top protagonists of the Main Tour that he’s intent on joining them in the higher echelons on a permanent basis.
Walden, meanwhile, has quietly been enjoying a resurgence this season after several years in the doldrums through a persistent injury.
The three-time ranking event winner features at the semi-final stage for the second time this term, and if he can maintain his consistent scoring level he’ll be a big threat over the next couple of days.
Zhao and Walden have encountered each other only once before, back in the 2018 Indian Open qualifiers when the former prevailed with a 4-3 scoreline.
Mark Allen vs Yan Bingtao (7pm)
In the bottom half of the German Masters draw there’s Mark Allen and Yan Bingtao, meaning an all-Chinese final between two of the game’s hottest young stars is on the cards.
Allen will have a lot to say about that, of course, and the Northern Ireland Open champion is playing with a renewed freedom after the shackles from his woes away from the table appear to have been released.
After losing his first meeting with Yan, the Pistol has enjoyed success the last three occasions they’ve met – albeit the most recent of those was way back in 2018.
Sometimes there is a sense during an event that a certain player already has his name on the silverware, and there’s a whiff of that in the air after Yan’s exploits so far this week.
The 21 year-old has survived titanic tussles in both of the last two rounds, eclipsing world number one Mark Selby and Welshman Ryan Day 5-4 having trailed each time late on.
As usual, there is bound to be a tremendous atmosphere inside the Tempodrom with the central table absorbing the full focus of the fans all on its own, a delight that all four semi-finalists have to look forward to.
Live coverage of the 2022 German Masters will be available in Ireland, Britain, and across Europe via Eurosport. Other options are available by clicking here.
Featured photo credit: WST