Eight remain in the hunt for the British Open title as the third ranking event of the season enters the quarter-finals stage on Friday in Cheltenham.
It has been an entertaining first few days at The Centaur, with a lot of good snooker, some shock results, and plenty of drama unfolding.
The latter element was never more evident than at the end of Thursday’s play, when both Mark Selby and He Guoqiang prevailed from their last-16 ties in black-ball finishes.
The random-draw format for the British Open has provided an extra degree of excitement, with heavyweight showdowns in the early rounds accounting for several marquee names.
The remaining contenders have each won four encounters to reach this point, but a further three victories will be required to land the £100,000 top prize on Sunday.
Let’s take a look at the quarter-finals draw for the 2023 British Open.
Mark Williams vs Fan Zhengyi
Friday, 1pm BST
Mark Williams fought back from two frames down to beat Ding Junhui in round four of the competition.
It was his third 4-2 triumph on the trot having recorded the same scoreline earlier in the week against both Stephen Maguire and Gary Wilson.
Williams has had a positive start to the 2023/24 snooker season – reaching the final of Championship League Snooker and now adding another deep run here.
The 48 year-old, chasing a 25th career ranking crown, will be the favourite in his last-eight fixture against Fan Zhengyi.
Up until this point, Fan had been fortunate in the random draw, with Williams representing his first opponent from inside the world’s top 64.
The young Chinese competitor is a former ranking event winner but will certainly be the underdog here over the best of nine frames.
Hossein Vafaei vs He Guoqiang
Friday, 1pm BST
What a fantastic start to life on the World Snooker Tour it has been for He Guoqiang.
The 23 year-old rookie from China has reached a ranking event quarter-final in what is only his second full ranking event as a professional.
He potted the final black in a dramatic climax to his fourth round tie with Barry Hawkins, ending the European Masters champion’s winning streak.
Hossein Vafaei is the next challenge to overcome, with the Iranian having manoeuvred his way through the rounds relatively unnoticed.
Vafaei overcame former world champion Graeme Dott on day four, adding to prior successes over Yuan Sijun and Oliver Brown.
The 28 year-old has been in and out of the top 16 in the rankings so far this term, so he’ll be hoping for a longer run to firmly establish his credentials within the elite bracket.
Tom Ford vs Xiao Guodong
Friday, 7pm BST
Xiao Guodong is the third Chinese cueist who will feature in the quarter-finals of the 2023 British Open draw.
The 34 year-old has been in promising form this season already, losing only two of the 19 matches he has been involved in.
Against Tom Ford, Xiao will face another player who has so far failed to secure ranking event glory in his career.
Both are somewhat familiar with the latter rounds of events, with each understanding what it takes to go on and reach finals.
Xiao ousted Ali Carter to reach the fifth hurdle of the tournament, while Ford outplayed Scott Donaldson.
The former leads the head-to-head 5-4, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if that’s the final scoreline in this best-of-nine clash.
Mark Selby vs Jack Lisowski
Friday, 7pm BST
The battle between Mark Selby and Jack Lisowski undoubtedly represents the tie of the round.
Xiao and Ford may be regarded as a couple of the best players never to have won a ranking tournament, but Lisowski tops that list with ease.
There have been positive signs this week for his fans, and as a local Cheltenham lad there’ll be many inside the arena cheering him on.
Lisowski has had arguably the toughest draw of anybody, beating last year’s Scottish Open runner-up Joe O’Connor in the first round, then Shaun Murphy, Matthew Selt, and Fergal O’Brien.
Against Selby, Lisowski will face another stern test and victory would be a seismic indicator that he could be about to break his silverware duck.
Selby, chasing a 23rd career ranking title, is the obvious favourite to win the whole event, though.
The Leicester man boasts a superior head-to-head record against Lisowski, albeit not by much – winning eight matches to Lisowski’s seven.
British Open draw and schedule
(held over fixtures)
Robert Milkins 4-2 Jiang Jun
Judd Trump 4-2 Anton Kazakov
Ali Carter 4-3 Allan Taylor
Luca Brecel 3-4 Ding Junhui
Gary Wilson 4-1 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Neil Robertson 4-1 Jamie Clarke
Mark Allen 4-1 Anthony McGill
Mark Williams 4-1 Peng Yisong
Mark Selby 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Ryan Day 4-0 Sean O’Sullivan
Kyren Wilson 4-1 Martin O’Donnell
Steven Hallworth 0-4 Jimmy Robertson
Shaun Murphy 4-1 Rebecca Kenna
Jack Lisowski 4-3 Joe O’Connor
John Higgins 4-1 Long Zehuang
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Stan Moody
Xu Si 4-0 Ali Carter
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 1-4 Oliver Lines
Ma Hailong 4-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Yuan Sijun 4-0 Ben Mertens
Judd Trump 3-4 Hammad Miah
Oliver Brown 2-4 Hossein Vafaei
Lyu Haotian 3-4 David Gilbert
Noppon Saengkham 2-4 Fergal O’Brien
Si Jiahui 4-1 Neil Robertson
Stephen Maguire 2-4 Mark Williams
Scott Donaldson 4-0 Liam Graham
Jamie Jones 0-4 Julien Leclercq
Robert Milkins 1-4 Barry Hawkins
Ken Doherty 3-4 Matthew Stevens
Jimmy Robertson 4-3 Wu Yize
Andy Hicks 2-4 Graeme Dott
Jack Lisowski 4-3 Shaun Murphy
Gary Wilson 4-3 Chris Wakelin
Anthony Hamilton 0-4 Xiao Guodong
Rod Lawler 4-1 Dominic Dale
Ryan Day 4-1 Thor Chuan Leong
Ding Junhui 4-3 Liu Hongyu
Fan Zhengyi 4-1 Ross Muir
He Guoqiang 4-1 Muhammad Asif
John Higgins 1-4 Robbie Williams
Mark Selby 4-2 Tian Pengfei
Daniel Wells 2-4 Ashley Carty
Matthew Selt 4-1 Zak Surety
Mark Allen 0-4 Kyren Wilson
Stuart Bingham 2-4 Ishpreet Singh
Tom Ford 4-3 Ashley Hugill
David Grace 3-4 Sanderson Lam
Matthew Stevens 3-4 Fergal O’Brien
Yuan Sijun 2-4 Hossein Vafaei
Mark Williams 4-2 Gary Wilson
Hammad Miah 3-4 Ma Hailong
Graeme Dott 4-0 Ashley Carty
Ali Carter 4-2 Ryan Day
Julien Leclercq 0-4 Ding Junhui
Oliver Lines 1-4 He Guoqiang
Scott Donaldson 4-1 Robbie Williams
David Gilbert 4-1 Ishpreet Singh
Xiao Guodong 4-1 Sanderson Lam
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Kyren Wilson
Si Jiahui 1-4 Mark Selby
Jimmy Robertson 0-4 Tom Ford
Rod Lawler 2-4 Fan Zhengyi
Jack Lisowski 4-2 Matthew Selt
Ding Junhui 2-4 Mark Williams
Graeme Dott 2-4 Hossein Vafaei
Ali Carter 2-4 Xiao Guodong
Tom Ford 4-1 Scott Donaldson
Barry Hawkins 3-4 He Guoqiang
Fan Zhengyi 4-1 Ma Hailong
David Gilbert 3-4 Mark Selby
Jack Lisowski 4-2 Fergal O’Brien
Mark Williams 5-1 Fan Zhengyi
Hossein Vafaei 5-2 He Guoqiang
Tom Ford 3-5 Xiao Guodong
Mark Selby 5-4 Jack Lisowski
Mark Williams 6-3 Hossein Vafaei
Xiao Guodong 0-6 Mark Selby
Mark Williams 10-7 Mark Selby
Featured photo credit: WST