The World Grand Prix schedule has reached the final-four stage at the Centaur in Cheltenham.
Just two wins separate the remaining quartet of contenders from the £100,000 top prize in the first event on the Duelbits Series.
Mark Allen vs Noppon Saengkham
Friday, 7pm GMT
Noppon Saengkham is undoubtedly the underdog of the four left in the tournament, but it would be a fool to write him off after his exploits this week.
The Thai competitor has already beaten Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, and Mark Williams – accounting for a trio boasting 14 world titles between them.
Saengkham is one of the most affable players on the entire circuit, his infectious laugh offering a welcome sense of endearment in an otherwise difficult period for the sport amid the ongoing match-fixing scandal.
The 30 year-old will appear in his fourth career ranking event semi-final against Mark Allen, the player who beat him in his last run to the last four.
Allen hasn’t been at his best in this tournament but has found a way, as champions do, to survive and advance through the rounds.
The Pistol has received some criticism for his hardened performance against Jack Lisowski in the World Grand Prix quarter-finals, but adding that extra layer of resilience is what has made him a proven winner on the schedule this season.
Allen has a 3-1 head-to-head record against Saengkham and will be the favourite to progress to what would be a fourth ranking final of the campaign for the Northern Irishman.
But given his performances in this particular event, write Saengkham off at your peril.
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Judd Trump vs Shaun Murphy
Saturday, 7pm GMT
The second semi-final will see Judd Trump, last weekend’s Masters champion, entertain fellow Englishman Shaun Murphy.
Trump fought hard to ensure that his current run of form wouldn’t end prematurely with a 5-3 triumph over Xiao Guodong in the last eight.
It was an even tighter battle for Murphy, who outlasted Anthony McGill in a high-scoring affair that required a decider.
After a difficult period for the Magician, it looks like he’s finally returning to the kind of form that has seen him capture nine ranking titles in the past.
The 40 year-old has only reached one semi-final since competing in the 2021 World Championship final, and unfortunately that was a 6-2 loss to Trump in last season’s Turkish Masters.
The pair, however, clashed more recently at the UK Championship in November when Murphy came from 5-3 behind to win 6-5.
Overall, Trump boasts the superior head-to-head record with 23 victories from their 36 overall encounters.
The 33 year-old is on a roll following his success at the Alexandra Palace, and it will take a big effort to stop him from reaching finals in successive weeks.
Live coverage is available on ITV Sport, Eurosport, and other broadcasting services around the world.
Featured photo credit: WST