European Masters semi-finals
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European Masters: semi-finals draw and preview

The European Masters semi-finals on Saturday will feature four proven winners from the World Snooker Tour.

The remaining quartet at the Kia Metropol Arena in Nuremberg boast a total of 79 ranking titles between them.

Two further wins in Germany separate each of them from adding to their tallies and collecting the £80,000 top prize.

John Higgins vs Judd Trump

Saturday, 1pm BST

The opening semi-finals clash in the European Masters will see Judd Trump take on John Higgins.

It marks a repeat of the 2011 and 2019 World Championship finals in which the pair took one turn each at denying the other Crucible glory.

Higgins enjoys the superior head-to-head record overall, but when not considering Championship League fixtures it reads at a tantalising 15 victories apiece.

They haven’t faced each other in a ranking event since meeting at the same stage of the 2020 English Open, an encounter Trump won 6-4.

The Englishman might feel that he already has one hand on the trophy this week following his great escape in the third round.

Trailing Chris Wakelin 4-0 at the mid-session interval, Trump fought his way back into the contest to eventually prevail in a decider.

Dominant triumphs over Ben Woollaston and Ashley Carty subsequently helped him through to the last four.

Higgins, though, will be high on confidence after emerging from a difficult section of the draw.

The Scot had already beaten Zhou Yuelong and the in-form Shaun Murphy before his quarter-final success against reigning European Masters champion Kyren Wilson.

With a lot of ranking points to defend this season, the Wizard of Wishaw’s long tenure in the top 16 may come under threat.

A strong finish this week, where he’s hoping to land a first ranking title since 2021, would certainly help.

Mark Selby vs Barry Hawkins

Saturday, 7pm BST

Later on Saturday evening, English duo Mark Selby and Barry Hawkins will participate in the second of the European Masters semi-finals.

After reaching the final last year, Hawkins suffered a dreadful 2022/23 snooker season that ultimately resulted in him dropping out of the top 16 in the world rankings.

The 44 year-old’s return to form was confirmed with his 5-4 defeat of world champion Luca Brecel in the last 16 on Friday.

For the Belgian Bullet, that loss ended his hopes of becoming the world number one – for the time being at least – with Ronnie O’Sullivan hanging on to top spot for now.

Hawkins, meanwhile, backed up that performance with a 5-2 triumph against the quickly improving Noppon Saengkham in the last eight.

Three-frame winning margins were the order of the day for Selby as well, who overcame Ashley Hugill and Lyu Haotian with 5-2 scorelines.

While Hawkins is hoping to move a step closer to securing a long overdue fourth ranking crown, Selby is on the prowl for his 23rd.

Somewhat unexpectedly considering his status as one of the all-time greats, Selby has an inferior head-to-head record against Hawkins.

In all competitions since their first meeting way back in 2007, Hawkins leads 18-17 from their 35 battles with one another.

However, when Championship League clashes are taken away, those stats transform to 12-9 in Selby’s favour.

The last time they crossed paths in a ranking event was at the 2021 World Grand Prix, when Selby emerged as a 4-1 winner.

European Masters draw and results

Kyren Wilson 5-2 Alfie Burden
Si Jiahui 5-3 Ken Doherty
Hossein Vafaei 0-5 Allan Taylor
Dominic Dale 5-2 Duane Jones
Andrew Higginson 1-5 Zhou Yuelong
Dylan Emery 1-5 John Higgins
Ross Muir 5-3 Joe Perry
Daniel Wells 2-5 Shaun Murphy

Judd Trump 5-0 Jordan Brown
Chris Wakelin 5-0 Aaron Hill
Ben Woollaston 5-1 Xu Si
Tom Ford 5-2 Oliver Brown
Jamie Jones 3-5 Ricky Walden
Michael White 5-4 Jack Lisowski
Ashley Carty 5-4 Joe O’Connor
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-0 Mark Allen

Andy Hicks 5-2 Peng Yisong
Lyu Haotian 5-4 Elliot Slessor
Ben Mertens 5-3 Sanderson Lam
David Gilbert 5-1 Reanne Evans
Xiao Guodong 5-3 Stuart Bingham
Ashley Hugill 5-4 Ali Carter
Louis Heathcote 1-5 Anthony Hamilton
Adam Duffy 1-5 Mark Selby

Wu Yize w/o Liu Hongyu
Noppon Saengkham 5-2 Mark Davis
Mark Williams 5-3 Matthew Stevens
Jimmy Robertson 5-0 Scott Donaldson
James Cahill 3-5 Barry Hawkins
Jiang Jun 4-5 Zak Surety
Robbie Williams 5-1 Pang Junxu
Ishpreet Singh 3-5 Luca Brecel

K. Wilson 5-0 Si
Taylor 3-5 D. Jones
Zhou 2-5 Higgins
Muir 0-5 Murphy

Trump 5-4 Wakelin
Woollaston 5-4 Ford
Walden 5-4 M. White
Carty 5-1 Un-Nooh

Hicks 4-5 Lyu
Mertens 4-5 Gilbert
Xiao 4-5 Hugill
Hamilton 1-5 Selby

Wu 2-5 Saengkham
M. Williams 4-5 J. Robertson
Hawkins 5-1 Surety
R. Williams 4-5 Brecel

K. Wilson 5-0 D. Jones
Higgins 5-2 Murphy
Trump 5-0 Woollaston
Walden 3-5 Carty
Lyu 5-1 Gilbert
Hugill 2-5 Selby
Saengkham 5-4 J. Robertson
Hawkins 5-4 Brecel

K. Wilson 3-5 Higgins
Trump 5-1 Carty
Lyu 2-5 Selby
Saengkham 2-5 Hawkins

Higgins 5-6 Trump
Selby 4-6 Hawkins

Trump 6-9 Hawkins

Featured photo credit: WST

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