The Players Championship is already down to its last eight contenders with the quarter-final schedule starting on Wednesday in Wolverhampton.
Several big names have already been eliminated, including top seed Mark Allen and former champion Judd Trump.
The tournament at the Aldersley Arena looks wide open, so let’s take a look at each of the four upcoming quarter-final ties.
Joe O’Connor vs Luca Brecel
Thursday, 1pm GMT
Joe O’Connor is the lowest-ranked player in the tournament, but he confidently accounted for world number three Allen in the first round.
The Englishman is enjoying a breakthrough season following his run to the final of the Scottish Open toward the end of 2022.
Luca Brecel is next up for O’Connor after the Belgian Bullet emerged from an entertaining encounter with Jack Lisowski with a 6-4 victory.
Brecel, already a ranking event winner this term, scored well and is in contention to qualify for the Tour Championship in March.
The 27 year-old has beaten O’Connor on both occasions they’ve crossed paths in the past, including a 4-0 drubbing at this season’s Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
Ali Carter vs Robert Milkins
Wednesday, 7pm GMT
It was almost written in the stars that there would have to be a battle between Ali Carter and Robert Milkins this week.
The latter’s triumph in last week’s Welsh Open meant that he topped the BetVictor Series rankings at the expense of Carter, and in doing so snatched the £150,000 bonus away from the Captain.
To his credit Carter took it all pretty well, but he’d undoubtedly enjoy gaining a modicum of revenge by ending the Milkman’s current run of form.
Somewhat peculiarly, the last player to beat Milkins in a ranking event is none other than Carter himself, who edged his fellow Englishman in the German Masters semi-finals earlier this month en route to the title in Berlin.
Both players came through their first tests this week with similar 6-5 scorelines, with Carter edging Trump and Milkins overcoming Tom Ford.
Kyren Wilson vs Gary Wilson
Friday, 1pm GMT
The final clash on the Players Championship quarter-final schedule will be the battle of the Wilsons on Friday afternoon between Kyren and Gary.
Kyren Wilson outplayed Zhou Yuelong to reach the last eight while Gary Wilson stunned former world number one Ding Junhui.
Having already claimed the European Masters and Scottish Open titles respectively, both players are chasing a second ranking trophy of the 2022/23 campaign.
The Wilsons have met eight times on the professional main tour, sharing four wins apiece, although three of Gary’s victories have come in the Championship League.
Kyren triumphed in their most high-profile tie at the 2021 World Championship, but neither player has been in especially good form in 2023 so far.
Shaun Murphy vs Ryan Day
Thursday, 7pm GMT
Shaun Murphy and Ryan Day will go head-to-head against one another on Thursday evening.
Murphy bounced back strongly from the disappointment of his defeat in the Welsh Open final by beating Mark Selby in the last 16, while Day ousted Chris Wakelin.
The Welshman hasn’t really performed too strongly since capturing the British Open crown all the way back in October and has dropped back outside the world’s top 16 in the official two-year rankings.
That means an automatic spot in the World Championship is in jeopardy, so every win in these lucrative events will prove crucial.
Murphy has no such concerns with regard Sheffield, but the Magician has made no secret of the fact he’d like to be involved in next month’s Tour Championship.
The top eight players from the one-year rankings will head to Hull, and Murphy is provisionally ninth in the standings.
The Englishman has faced Day 27 times in all competitions, and he boasts the superior record with 17 prior wins to his opponent’s ten.
How to watch the Players Championship
Live coverage of the Players Championship schedule will be available to UK and Irish viewers on ITV and for other European supporters on Eurosport and discovery+.
Fans in territories without coverage will be able to see the action on Matchroom Live via a subscription. All the available options are on the WST website.
Featured image credit: WST