By the end of Saturday’s play in Sheffield, the players in this year’s World Snooker Championship final will be known.
Judd Trump leads Mark Williams 13-11 after a momentous comeback from the latter from 9-2 behind.
In the other semi-final clash, Ronnie O’Sullivan reeled off five frames on the spin at the end of the second session to enjoy a 10-6 overnight advantage against John Higgins.
With the target to reach the final set at 17 frames, there’s still a lot of snooker to be played before the 2022 finalists are determined.
At one point during their last-four affair, it looked as though Trump was going to steamroll Williams with a session to spare.
The Welshman was completely out of sorts, particularly with his long game and safety play, while Trump had rediscovered his scoring prowess after a tournament in which he relied mostly on hard match play.
Williams, though, dug deep and finally started producing the level of snooker that saw him compile a dozen centuries in his three superb victories to reach this stage.
Needing only four frames to his opponent’s six, Trump will obviously still represent the favourite from here on.
However, the 2019 champion will have had a far less comfortable sleep on Friday night than would have been expected given his initial command.
In every World Championship since 2014, at least one of the semi-final ties has needed at least 32 out of the 33 allotted frames to settle the outcome, and this duel could end up being just as close.
In the other blockbuster fixture, Higgins will need to drastically improve if he’s to mount a similar comeback.
The Scot’s highest break of just 58 highlights where his struggles lie, and he’ll have to kill off frames in single visits more regularly if he’s to give himself a chance.
Higgins hasn’t played particularly well throughout the whole tournament, and it took until the second session of the semi-final for a player to finally seize advantage.
O’Sullivan at times looked impatient with the crowd, but overall his play has been as solid and consistent as it has been during the whole event.
Two centuries and eight additional breaks above 50 suggest that his scoring is in fine fettle.
The Rocket will know that if he simply shares the remaining frames he’ll run out a comfortable winner to move one step closer to that record-equalling seventh world title.
Still, this is the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre, and it isn’t always that straightforward.
Featured photo credit: WST