The English Open semi-finals will take place on Saturday at the Brentwood Centre, with the fourth ranking title of the season now within reach.
The last four comprises two former world champions and two players who will feature at this stage of a ranking event for the first time.
A place in Sunday’s title decider is on the line, when the Steve Davis Trophy and a cheque worth £80,000 will be up for grabs.
John Higgins vs Judd Trump
Saturday, 1pm BST
A blockbuster tie between John Higgins and Judd Trump will open semi-finals day of the English Open.
A repeat of the 2011 and 2019 World Championship finals, Higgins versus Trump has been a familiar showdown throughout the years.
In fact, the pair’s most recent clash was at the same hurdle of the European Masters in August.
On that occasion, Trump fought back from 3-0 down and won the last two frames to secure a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Scot.
Higgins has been on the wrong end of a number of close finishes in recent times.
But after emerging from a decider in his opening-round fixture with Marco Fu on Monday, the Wizard of Wishaw has gone from strength to strength in this tournament.
Indeed, the 48 year-old has lost just four frames in his following four matches, including a 5-1 triumph against Martin O’Donnell in Friday’s quarter-finals.
Trump also won his last-eight encounter 5-1, comfortably overcoming Matthew Selt with the help of a two-ton display.
The 2020 English Open champion has been consistent during the 2023/24 campaign so far, winning a CBSA invitational event in China and reaching the final in Fürth.
There isn’t much to separate Trump and Higgins from their head-to-head record, and all signs point to this affair being a tight one like their last.
Zhang Anda vs Liu Hongyu
Saturday, 7pm BST
The second encounter in the semi-finals of the English Open will be between Chinese duo Zhang Anda and Liu Hongyu.
Zhang defied a brace of century breaks from his opponent to pip Zhou Yuelong in a decider on Friday.
Liu, meanwhile, orchestrated another eye-catching result in what is his rookie season as a pro with his 5-2 defeat of Ding Junhui.
The latter was far from his best, but victory for Liu ensures that he can add another high-profile scalp to a growing list that also includes Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy from this week alone.
The 19 year-old appears to already possess a lot of the attributes required to reach the top of the sport.
While it has taken the teenager only a few events to reach the penultimate round of a ranking event, for Zhang it has been a much lengthier process.
The 31 year-old first joined the World Snooker Tour in 2009, and he qualified for the World Championship three times between 2010 and 2016.
But until recently, Zhang had been associated with an unusual stat that saw him having never been ranked inside the world’s top 64.
With that monkey recently off his back – he is provisionally up to no.51 – he has been playing with more freedom, underlined by his vast improvement in the scoring department this term.
This will mark a first meeting between Zhang and Liu, and it’s an enormous opportunity for both to experience the thrills of a maiden ranking final.
2023 ENGLISH OPEN DRAW
Round of 128
(held over fixtures)
Mark Selby 4-1 Xing Zihao
Ryan Day 4-2 Ashley Hugill
John Higgins 4-3 Marco Fu
Kyren Wilson 3-4 Oliver Lines
Judd Trump 4-0 Sean O’Sullivan
Robert Milkins 4-1 Robbie Williams
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Anthony Hamilton
Mark Allen 4-0 Mostafa Dorgham
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-0 Andrew Pagett
Jack Lisowski 4-1 Matthew Stevens
Elliot Slessor 4-2 Ryan Davies
Ali Carter 4-1 Jamie Clarke
Neil Robertson 2-4 Sanderson Lam
Shaun Murphy 3-4 Liu Hongyu
Mark Williams 4-0 Ian Burns
Ding Junhui 4-3 Ma Hailong
Luca Brecel 4-3 Stan Moody
Round of 64
Mark Selby 2-4 Martin O’Donnell
Stephen Maguire 4-2 Louis Heathcote
Ryan Day 3-4 He Guoqiang
Hossein Vafaei 4-3 Julien Leclercq
David Lilley 2-4 Mark Davis
James Cahill 2-4 John Higgins
Cao Yupeng 4-0 David Gilbert
Martin Gould 1-4 Oliver Lines
Judd Trump 4-1 Scott Donaldson
Jimmy Robertson 4-3 Allan Taylor
Robert Milkins 4-3 Adam Duffy
Tom Ford 2-4 Yuan Sijun
Hammad Miah 2-4 Ricky Walden
Graeme Dott 4-2 Barry Hawkins
Michael White 3-4 Matthew Selt
Wu Yize 1-4 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Jackson Page
Si Jiahui 4-0 Fergal O’Brien
Jack Lisowski 3-4 Elliot Slessor
Anthony McGill 1-4 Zhang Anda
Lukas Kleckers 1-4 Jenson Kendrick
Liam Pullen 0-4 Ali Carter
Andrew Higginson 2-4 Zhou Yuelong
Stuart Carrington 0-4 Sanderson Lam
Liu Hongyu 4-1 Joe O’Connor
Chris Wakelin 4-1 Jamie Jones
Mark Williams 4-3 Xiao Guodong
Dylan Emery 4-1 Oliver Brown
Dominic Dale 3-4 Gary Wilson
David Grace 1-4 Ding Junhui
Muhammad Asif 4-3 Fan Zhengyi
Andy Hicks 1-4 Luca Brecel
Round of 32
Martin O’Donnell 4-1 Stephen Maguire
He Guoqiang 4-3 Hossein Vafaei
Mark Davis 0-4 John Higgins
Cao Yupeng 2-4 Oliver Lines
Judd Trump 4-3 Jimmy Robertson
Robert Milkins 1-4 Yuan Sijun
Ricky Walden 4-3 Graeme Dott
Matthew Selt 4-2 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Si Jiahui
Elliot Slessor 1-4 Zhang Anda
Jenson Kendrick 0-4 Ali Carter
Zhou Yuelong 4-0 Sanderson Lam
Liu Hongyu 4-3 Chris Wakelin
Mark Williams 4-2 Dylan Emery
Gary Wilson 2-4 Ding Junhui
Muhammad Asif 0-4 Luca Brecel
Round of 16
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 He Guoqiang
John Higgins 4-1 Oliver Lines
Judd Trump 4-2 Yuan Sijun
Ricky Walden 3-4 Matthew Selt
Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-4 Zhang Anda
Ali Carter 1-4 Zhou Yuelong
Liu Hongyu 4-3 Mark Williams
Ding Junhui 4-3 Luca Brecel
Martin O’Donnell 1-5 John Higgins
Judd Trump 5-1 Matthew Selt
Zhang Anda 5-4 Zhou Yuelong
Liu Hongyu 5-2 Ding Junhui
John Higgins 5-6 Judd Trump
Zhang Anda 6-2 Liu Hongyu
Judd Trump 9-7 Zhang Anda
Featured photo credit: WST