Eight players remain in the hunt for the £80,000 top prize as the European Masters enters the quarter-finals stage of the draw on Friday.
An unusual ranking event so far has seen a number of marquee names stumble at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Only two members from the top 16 in the world rankings are left in contention, but several of the other contenders have been proven winners in the past as well.
Below is a rundown of the European Masters quarter-finals draw.
Graeme Dott vs Ryan Day
There are no top 16 players in the top half but three out of the four who are left have triumphed in ranking events in the past.
Veteran former world champion Graeme Dott has reached this stage for the first time in two years, and it’s a timely run given his recent slide down the rankings list.
The Scot beat Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown in the last 16 to set up a meeting with Ryan Day, who recorded a similar 5-2 victory over Sunny Akani on Thursday.
Day and Dott boast five ranking titles between them and have a wealth of experience on the professional circuit, so it’s not easy to see who has the upper hand.
Their head-to-head record doesn’t help matters, with seven wins apiece from their previous battles in all competitions.
Fan Zhengyi vs David Gilbert
Fan Zhengyi orchestrated a remarkable turnaround from 3-0 down to beat countryman Yan Bingtao 5-3 in the last 16.
Having never reached the quarter-final of a ranking event prior to 2022, he will now feature at that stage in back-to-back European Series tournaments following his run at the German Masters.
At the Tempodrom, Fan was hammered 5-0 by Mark Allen so will be hoping to at least improve on that display when he takes on David Gilbert on Friday afternoon.
The latter took advantage of Neil Robertson’s unexpected exit by edging Pang Junxu, and after an indifferent spell of form Gilbert has a big opportunity to reach the business end this week.
The early-season Championship League winner is on the cusp of a spot in the top eight on the one-year rankings list, which would provide a Tour Championship berth later this term.
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Tom Ford
With so many of his rivals already back home, Ronnie O’Sullivan is the clear favourite to seal his 39th career ranking title on Sunday.
The Rocket looked sharp during his 5-2 defeat of Ashley Hugill and will next take on Tom Ford, who backed up his whitewash triumph over John Higgins by pipping Fraser Patrick 5-3.
Ford has beaten O’Sullivan twice before, but somewhat worryingly both of those transpired in short format events.
The 38 year-old represents one of the most talented players on the tour who has not managed to win a ranking title during his career.
Overcoming the Rocket would be a monumental step towards rectifying that, but he’ll have to play every bit as well as he did against Higgins earlier this week.
Liang Wenbo vs Anthony McGill
Flying under the radar this week is Anthony McGill, who other than O’Sullivan is the only other top 16 member in the quarter-finals of the European Masters draw.
McGill defied a hat-trick of century breaks from opponent Kurt Maflin to prevail in an entertaining fourth-round fixture – a win that strengthens his aspirations of sealing an automatic spot at the Crucible in April.
The enigmatic Liang Wenbo, who has been in outstanding scoring form throughout this week, will be the Scot’s next challenge.
China’s Liang has compiled 13 breaks over 50 in his three matches so far in Milton Keynes, including four centuries.
McGill boasts a 4-3 head-to-head advantage over Liang, although two of his three victories came in the single-frame Shoot Out.
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Featured photo credit: WST