The semi-finals of the Welsh Open take place on Saturday with two more victories needed at the Celtic Manor Resort this weekend.
The remaining contenders are bidding to capture the final Home Nations tournament of the campaign, and with it the £70,000 champion’s cheque.
One thing is already guaranteed, that someone will be raising the Ray Reardon Trophy aloft for the first time on Sunday in Newport.
Welsh Open Semi-Finals
Hossein Vafaei vs Judd Trump
(Saturday, 1pm GMT)
For a long period it felt as though Judd Trump was never absent from the last four of a competition, but this run amazingly represents his first to the semi-final stage of a ranking event this season.
The 32 year-old claimed the Champion of Champions crown in November, but aside from that it has been a somewhat disappointing season for the world number three.
Trump’s 5-3 quarter-final victory over rival Neil Robertson set up a clash in the penultimate round against Hossein Vafaei.
Vafaei shifted through the gears at 4-1 down to reel off the remaining four frames and deny Zhang Anda in a last-eight decider.
The Iranian’s confidence is high after sealing a maiden ranking event success in January’s Snooker Shoot Out, and he’s into the Welsh Open semi-finals for the second time in four years.
Trump boasts a 4-3 advantage from their overall head-to-head, but interestingly Vafaei has prevailed in each of their last three fixtures – including in this very event last year.
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Joe Perry vs Jack Lisowski
(Saturday, 7pm GMT)
When Jack Lisowski trailed Ali Carter 4-2 in the first quarter-final, it appeared as though another opportunity for him to potentially land his long overdue first title was passing him by.
However, Lisowski subsequently left the 2009 Welsh Open champion potless, firing in breaks of 82 and a terrific 135 in the decider to clinch victory.
The 30 year-old, who has lost six ranking event finals since 2018, will face a resurgent Joe Perry for a berth in the final.
Perry defied a brace of century breaks from opponent Ricky Walden to emerge as a 5-2 winner on Friday evening.
It represents the Gentleman’s first semi-final appearance in a ranking event since 2019 and comes at an unexpected time after he had slipped way down the rankings list.
Lisowksi will be the favourite to progress, but fellow Englishman Perry boasts a wealth of experience and the pair’s head-to-head is actually even.
Still, Trump and Lisowski encountered each other in three title deciders last season and that must be regarded as the most likely outcome here as well.
Live coverage of the Welsh Open semi-finals is available on Eurosport, Quest, BBC Wales, or via other channels depending on your location.
Featured photo credit: WST