After a hectic schedule in Newport, there are just eight contenders left in the 2022 Welsh Open draw.
Thursday’s action saw the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Shaun Murphy, Kyren Wilson, and Yan Bingtao exit the competition.
Each player from the home contingent has bowed out also, with Ryan Day, Matthew Stevens, and Michael White losing in the last 16.
However, there’s still an interesting mix of pretenders to the throne remaining, so let’s take a look at each quarter-final tie.
Zhang Anda vs Hossein Vafaei
(Friday, 7pm GMT)
Surely not again? Zhang Anda, another player who practices at the Victoria Snooker Academy, has clearly been inspired by his peers.
The academy in Sheffield already boasts Yan Bingtao, Zhao Xintong, Fan Zhengyi, and Si Jiahui, who have each generated headlines for triumphing in various tournaments since the start of last year.
Zhang, who first turned professional in 2009, is bidding for a maiden appearance in a ranking event semi-final.
Against Hossein Vafaei, the player known as Mighty Mouse will face the recent Snooker Shoot Out champion.
It’s a huge opportunity for both players, and it’s the Iranian who edges their head-to-head after winning their only previous tie at the 2019 World Championship qualifiers.
Neil Robertson vs Judd Trump
(Friday, est. 2pm GMT)
A heavyweight battle between two of the sport’s very best, matches between Neil Robertson and Judd Trump are generally not to be missed.
The pair has struck up an entertaining rivalry over the last few years, meeting in numerous finals that have been predominantly been barnstorming affairs.
Trump has been somewhat out of form since his Champion of Champions success towards the end of last year but claims he’s nearing his A-game again.
Robertson, meanwhile, has been the undeniable force in 2022 so far, capturing lucrative titles at both the Masters and the Players Championship.
With a relatively even head-to-head record it’s hard to pick a winner from this tie, highlighted by the fact that three from their last four clashes have lasted the distance.
Ricky Walden vs Joe Perry
(Friday, 7pm GMT)
Ricky Walden’s resurgence this season continued with a brace of excellent victories on day four – ousting both Yan and O’Sullivan.
Walden’s performances this term have been so consistent that he’s now chasing down a spot in the top 16 of the world rankings again.
Joe Perry has, by contrast, been struggling for form of late but features in the last eight of a ranking event for the first time in over a year.
The Gentleman backed up his triumph over Mark Allen on Wednesday with a defeat of Kyren Wilson to reach this stage.
Walden narrowly boasts a superior head-to-head advantage but again it’s close, and both players possess a wealth of experience at this level.
Ali Carter vs Jack Lisowski
(Friday, 12pm GMT)
The opening encounter in the Welsh Open quarter-final schedule is the battle between English duo Ali Carter and Jack Lisowski.
Carter, the Welsh Open champion in 2009, features at this latterly stage of an event for the first time this season.
Indeed, it’s only the second time for Lisowski, who has endured a disappointing spell that has seen him drop outside the top 16 in the world rankings.
All four players from the bottom half of the draw will look at the section and believe that they have what it takes to at least advance to the final this week.
Lisowski and Carter have crossed paths on four occasions with one notable win each from the Crucible Theatre during recent World Championships.
Live coverage of the Welsh Open schedule is available on Eurosport, Quest, BBC Wales, or via other channels depending on your location.
Featured photo credit: WST