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Welsh Open: quarter-final draw, preview, schedule, where to watch

There are eight contenders left in the draw for the Welsh Open with the £80,000 top prize still up for grabs in Llandudno.

While capturing the Ray Reardon Trophy will be at the forefront of their minds, many of the remaining players will have an eye on a couple of other goals as well.

It has already been an exciting few days at the Venue Cymru, so let’s take a look at who is left in the Welsh Open quarter-final draw.

Welsh Open quarter-final draw
Joe O’Connor vs Pang Junxu
Shaun Murphy vs Yuan Sijun

Mark Allen vs Robert Milkins
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Tian Pengfei

Shaun Murphy vs Yuan Sijun

12pm GMT

Thursday was all about Shaun Murphy after the Magician produced a memorable streak of power scoring that included a seventh career maximum break.

After compiling his 600th competitive century break in professional snooker during his victory over Anthony McGill, Murphy followed it up with back-to-back 145 and 147 total clearances against Daniel Wells.

Murphy will take on Yuan Sijun for a place in the semi-finals after the Chinese 22 year-old upset Jack Lisowski in the last 16.

Yuan has only reached the last four of a ranking event once in his career and actually needs to win the title in order to qualify for next week’s Players Championship.

Murphy has already safeguarded his place in that tournament through the one-year rankings list, but it’s on the official two-year standings where the 2005 world champion is struggling.

Appearances at the more lucrative stages of events would be timely considering he has a big chunk of money coming off his tally later this season, something that could result in him dropping out of the top 16.

Yuan and Murphy have faced off three times previously, with the latter leading their head-to-head 2-1.

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Tian Pengfei

est. 2:30pm GMT

Ronnie O’Sullivan may have been having serious tip trouble this week in North Wales, but the Rocket has still been pretty dominant on the table.

The Rocket’s 4-0 victory over Ben Mertens represented his third bagel out of four encounters played so far in the event.

O’Sullivan is three wins away from matching the record of five Welsh Open crowns that is currently held by John Higgins.

Reaching the final would also guarantee the Englishman’s presence in Wolverhampton next week for the Players Championship.

His next opponent is Tian Pengfei, who enjoyed a brilliant day on Thursday after sealing triumphs over German Masters winner Ali Carter and then Higgins.

Despite a long career as a professional on the main tour, the 35 year-old has amazingly never featured at the semi-final stage of a ranking event.

Tian infamously beat O’Sullivan in a bizarre China Open fixture in 2010, but he has lost three of their other four matches against each other.

O’Sullivan remains the bookies favourite for glory this week with many of the top betting companies in the world offering signup bonuses.

Mark Allen vs Robert Milkins

7pm GMT

Here he is again, approaching the business end of proceedings and making a move for another piece of silverware during a prolific 2022/23 campaign.

Mark Allen is back in the mix for a trophy, and he’s additionally well-placed to top the BetVictor Series.

Beating Robert Milkins on Friday would take Allen back to first in those rankings and assured of the £150,000 jackpot bonus.

Milkins, though, is still a contender for that prize, albeit last season’s Gibraltar Open champion needs to add a second ranking title to his CV in order to snatch it.

The 46 year-old has already accounted for Mark Selby and Hossein Vafaei in the Welsh Open draw, so he’s clearly in good form.

Allen, however, will of course be the favourite given the season he is producing and the Pistol boasts a 5-2 superior head-to-head record over Milkins overall.

Joe O’Connor vs Pang Junxu

7pm GMT

There’s an intriguing omen going around at the moment that will be giving Pang Junxu fans reason to be optimistic.

In 2021, shortly after reaching his first ranking event quarter-final at the German Masters, Jordan Brown won the Welsh Open.

Then in 2022, shortly after reaching his first ranking event quarter-final at the German Masters, Fan Zhengyi won the European Masters.

Guess what? Pang made his first appearance at the quarter-final stage of a ranking event in – that’s right – this month’s German Masters.

Joe O’Connor will be hoping to put a stop to that, and the Englishman is similarly beginning to enjoy runs to the latter stages more often.

O’Connor reached the final of the Scottish Open in December, and one more win this week would safeguard his spot in next week’s Players Championship.

In their only prior encounter, O’Connor beat Pang 4-1 in the 2021 English Open, although this clash has a lot more riding on it.

Each quarter-final from the Welsh Open draw will be available live on Eurosport and BBC Wales. Other options around the world are available (information here).

Featured photo credit: WST

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