Ronnie O’Sullivan is a heavy favourite to claim the International Championship title heading into the semi-finals in Tianjin.
The world number one is the only member of the current top 16 in the lineup after all of his more familiar rivals have fallen by the wayside.
Many now expect O’Sullivan to go on and collect the lucrative £175,000 top prize, a triumph that would represent his 40th at ranking event level.
The other three contenders, by contrast, boast just one ranking title between them.
Success for one of that trio would provide an added bonus of an invitation to next week’s prestigious Champion of Champions invitational in Bolton.
Let’s take a look at both International Championship semi-finals, where the ties will be two-session affairs played over the best of 17 frames.
Jordan Brown vs Tom Ford
Friday, November 10 – 6am and 11:30am UTC
The International Championship semi-finals will begin on Friday with an encounter between Jordan Brown and Tom Ford.
Few would have predicted this clash at the beginning of the week, but there’s no denying the fact they deserve to be in this position.
Ford has orchestrated impressive victories over Mark Selby and Barry Hawkins, while Brown added Stephen Maguire to his hit list after earlier defeats of Kyren Wilson and John Higgins.
This run represents Brown’s first to a semi-final of a ranking tournament since his shock triumph at the Welsh Open in 2021.
Ford, on the other hand, has already featured in a title-deciding affair in 2023 – losing the final of the German Masters to Ali Carter.
The 40 year-old, however, remains one of the best players in the game to have never won a ranking title.
Ford and Brown have clashed on only one previous occasion, at the Indian Open in 2018 when the former edged the sprint encounter 4-3.
This battle will be an entirely different prospect, with neither player boasting a great deal of experience over longer distances.
Both players will look at this showdown as a big chance to reach a lucrative final, and both will surely be immensely disappointing to end up on the losing side.
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Zhang Anda
Saturday, November 11 – 6am and 11:30am UTC
Most supporters in China were probably getting excited at the possibility of a duel between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui.
But Zhang Anda threw a spanner into the works by ousting Ding with a fine display in the quarter-finals.
After years of being on the fringes, the 31 year-old’s recent rapid rise up the ranks has been nothing short of outstanding.
It took Zhang 14 years as a professional to break into the top 64, finally achieving the feat earlier in 2023.
Since then, he has gone from strength to strength, and helped by his strong performances this week he could move into the top 32 in next week’s revised world rankings.
Zhang beat O’Sullivan en route to a maiden berth in a ranking event final last month when he eventually lost the English Open crown to Judd Trump.
Whether he’ll be able to match the seven-time world champion over a longer distance remains a key question.
O’Sullivan hasn’t been at his best in the International Championship but has reached the semi-finals by producing in spurts and when it has mattered.
Already a Shanghai Masters champion from this season, the Englishman is now just a couple of wins away from capturing a first ranking crown since the 2022 World Championship.
2023 International Championship
Round of 128 (bo11)
Judd Trump 6-0 Wang Xinzhong
Michael White 6-3 Himanshu Jain
Stephen Maguire 6-2 Peng Yisong
Joe O’Connor 6-1 Baipat Siripaporn
Ryan Day 6-1 Mink Nutcharut
Jackson Page 6-3 Liam Graham
Hossein Vafaei 6-1 Reanne Evans
Ross Muir 6-3 Wu Yize
Ben Woollaston 4-6 Wang Xinbo
Dylan Emery 6-3 Joe Perry
David Grace 6-2 Jenson Kendrick
John Higgins 6-1 Manasawin Phetmalaikul
Jordan Brown 6-5 Sean O’Sullivan
David Gilbert 6-0 James Cahill
Elliot Slessor 6-2 Hammad Miah
Kyren Wilson 6-3 Adam Duffy
Mark Selby 6-2 Muhammad Asif
Stuart Carrington 6-4 Xi Si
Jimmy Robertson 6-2 Anton Kazakov
Xiao Guodong 6-4 Ishpreet Singh Chadha
Marco Fu 6-4 Robert Milkins
Sanderson Lam 6-2 Andy Hicks
Tom Ford 6-4 Stan Moody
Cao Yupeng 6-0 Ashley Hugill
Jamie Jones 6-4 Ashley Carty
Ricky Walden 6-1 Jiang Jun
Tian Pengfei 6-3 Stephen Hendry
Barry Hawkins 6-0 Andrew Pagett
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-1 Andrew Higginson
Matthew Selt 6-1 Jimmy White
Oliver Lines 6-4 Lukas Kleckers
Mark Allen 6-2 Ma Hailong
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 Ken Doherty
Mark Joyce 6-3 Andy Lee
Si Jiahui 6-5 Julien Leclercq
Jak Jones 6-2 Aaron Hill
Jack Lisowski 6-3 He Guoqiang
Scott Donaldson 6-4 Louis Heathcote
Anthony McGill 6-3 Alfie Burden
Sam Craigie 6-1 Rory Thor
Matthew Stevens 6-4 Liu Hongyu
Stuart Bingham 6-0 Xing Zihao
John Astley 6-5 Jamie Clarke
Ali Carter 6-2 Allan Taylor
Anthony Hamilton 6-0 Bai Yulu
Zhou Yuelong 6-0 Martin O’Donnell
Daniel Wells 6-2 Liam Highfield
Neil Robertson 6-4 Ryan Thomerson
Shaun Murphy 6-1 Andres Petrov
Dominic Dale 6-3 Oliver Brown
Chris Wakelin 6-0 Dean Young
Lyu Haotian 6-5 David Lilley
Mark Williams 6-0 Rebecca Kenna
Zhang Anda 6-3 Alexander Ursenbacher
Noppon Saengkham 6-3 Victor Sarkis
Liam Pullen 6-4 Graeme Dott
Robbie Williams 6-3 Ben Mertens
Gary Wilson 6-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Long Zehuang 6-5 Yuan Sijun
Ding Junhui 6-1 Ian Burns
Pang Junxu 6-3 Zak Surety
Fan Zhengyi 6-2 Mostafa Dorgham
Mark Davis 6-4 Rod Lawler
Luca Brecel 6-2 Daniel Womersley
Round of 64 (bo11)
Judd Trump 6-0 Michael White
Stephen Maguire 6-4 Joe O’Connor
Ryan Day 6-5 Jackson Page
Hossein Vafaei 5-6 Ross Muir
Wang Xinbo 4-6 Dylan Emery
David Grace 1-6 John Higgins
Jordan Brown 6-3 David Gilbert
Elliot Slessor 2-6 Kyren Wilson
Mark Selby 6-2 Stuart Carrington
Jimmy Robertson 3-6 Xiao Guodong
Marco Fu 6-0 Sanderson Lam
Tom Ford 6-0 Cao Yupeng
Jamie Jones 3-6 Ricky Walden
Tian Pengfei 0-6 Barry Hawkins
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-5 Matthew Selt
Oliver Lines 3-6 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Mark Joyce
Si Jiahui 4-6 Jak Jones
Jack Lisowski 6-4 Scott Donaldson
Anthony McGill 6-3 Sam Craigie
Matthew Stevens 5-6 Stuart Bingham
John Astley 5-6 Ali Carter
Anthony Hamilton 0-6 Zhou Yuelong
Daniel Wells 6-1 Neil Robertson
Shaun Murphy 3-6 Dominic Dale
Chris Wakelin 1-6 Lyu Haotian
Mark Williams 3-6 Zhang Anda
Noppon Saengkham 5-6 Liam Pullen
Robbie Williams 4-6 Gary Wilson
Long Zehuang 4-6 Ding Junhui
Pang Junxu 6-5 Fan Zhengyi
Mark Davis 6-3 Luca Brecel
Round of 32 (bo11)
Judd Trump 3-6 Stephen Maguire
Ryan Day 6-1 Ross Muir
Dylan Emery 1-6 John Higgins
Jordan Brown 6-4 Kyren Wilson
Mark Selby 6-2 Xiao Guodong
Marco Fu 3-6 Tom Ford
Ricky Walden 4-6 Barry Hawkins
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-3 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-4 Jak Jones
Jack Lisowski 2-6 Anthony McGill
Stuart Bingham 4-6 Ali Carter
Zhou Yuelong 1-6 Daniel Wells
Dominic Dale 3-6 Lyu Haotian
Zhang Anda 6-3 Liam Pullen
Gary Wilson 5-6 Ding Junhui
Pang Junxu 6-3 Mark Davis
Round of 16 (bo11)
Stephen Maguire 6-4 Ryan Day
John Higgins 3-6 Jordan Brown
Mark Selby 3-6 Tom Ford
Barry Hawkins 6-5 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Anthony McGill
Ali Carter 6-1 Daniel Wells
Lyu Haotian 3-6 Zhang Anda
Ding Junhui 6-2 Pang Junxu
Stephen Maguire 5-6 Jordan Brown
Tom Ford 6-4 Barry Hawkins
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-4 Ali Carter
Zhang Anda 6-3 Ding Junhui
Jordan Brown 6-9 Tom Ford
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-9 Zhang Anda
Tom Ford 6-10 Zhang Anda
Featured photo credit: WST