Mark Williams will face Jack Lisowski and Judd Trump will entertain Stuart Bingham in the Masters semi-finals on Saturday.
The prestigious invitational at the Alexandra Palace has reached its final-four stage, with two further wins separating each player from glory in London.
It promises to be a fascinating penultimate day at the Ally Pally so let’s take a look at both of the upcoming clashes, starting with the match in the top half of the Masters draw.
Stuart Bingham vs Judd Trump
It would be fair to say that Stuart Bingham and Judd Trump have reached this stage of the competition in different ways.
While the former has generally dominated his two opponents so far with a barrage of big breaks, Trump has been forced to rely on his battling qualities.
The latter prevailed in a second successive deciding frame this week with a 6-5 defeat of Barry Hawkins on Friday.
A confident Bingham, on the other hand, thrashed Shaun Murphy 6-0 in a surprisingly one-sided quarter-final affair.
- CLICK HERE: QUIZ! – Masters players at the Alexandra Palace
Trump and Bingham captured Masters success in 2019 and 2020 respectively, so they’ll be intent on etching their names onto the Paul Hunter Trophy for a second time.
Among all the semi-finalists, Bingham is probably conjuring the best standard so far while Trump is unequivocally producing the worst.
The 33 year-old contributed a brace of centuries in overcoming Hawkins, but there was a plethora of sloppy play mixed in too.
Still, there have been many instances in the past whereby a player survives – arguably undeservedly – in a tournament and then proceeds to win the whole thing.
Trump will be hoping that will be the case this week, but Bingham has suddenly rediscovered close to his best form after a somewhat lengthy spell in the doldrums.
This pair has enjoyed numerous notable matches over the years, and while Trump boasts the superior head-to-head record overall, it’s Bingham who has won their two biggest fixtures.
The 46 year-old defeated Trump in the semi-final en route to claiming the 2015 world title, and two years later he also pipped his fellow Englishman in the Welsh Open final.
That both those ties went to deciders could be an indicator as to how close this semi-final may turn out.
Even so, Trump is the betting favourite with Powerplay sports to not only go on and reach the final but also land the £250,000 jackpot this Sunday as well.
Mark Williams vs Jack Lisowski
The first of the Masters semi-finals takes place on Saturday afternoon between Mark Williams and Jack Lisowski.
Lisowski is the only contender from the remaining four who hasn’t previously savoured Masters glory.
Indeed, the 31 year-old is becoming notorious for being the best player in the world who hasn’t attained any silverware at the professional level yet.
Williams, by contrast, probably has an entire room dedicated to all the trophies he’s accumulated over the years.
The Welshman’s 6-5 ousting of Ronnie O’Sullivan gives him an opportunity to land what would be a third Masters crown – and a first in 20 years.
Given his wealth of experience and, you’d have to say, a far superior temperament, Williams must be regarded as the favourite to advance from this duel.
- CLICK HERE: Jack Lisowski – ‘I’ve been working really hard’
However, logic would likewise suggest that there are only so many times an immensely talented player can knock on the door before finally being able to walk through it.
Lisowski has come close to emerging triumphantly from events on countless occasions in the past, and he seems as well positioned as ever to finally overcome that hurdle.
He undoubtedly still looks nervy in some big moments, but he has improved massively in that area since beginning his work with Peter Ebdon, and gone seem to be the days when he’d crumble as soon as a match got close.
Lisowski has played Williams seven times in all competitions, winning three, but it’s Williams who has won both ties that have been played over any proper length.
How to watch the Masters
The 2023 Masters semi-finals will be broadcast live on the BBC and Eurosport.
There are various other broadcasters around the world providing coverage, which can be viewed by clicking here.
For all other territories, the action can be followed on the Matchroom.Live streaming service via a subscription.
Featured photo credit: WST