Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter will face each other in a mouthwatering Masters final at the Alexandra Palace in London on Sunday.
The English duo emerged from their semi-final fixtures on Saturday to move within one victory of securing the £250,000 top prize.
O’Sullivan defied a couple of century breaks from Shaun Murphy to dispatch the 2015 champion with a 6-2 triumph.
The Rocket produced a clinical finish to see off the challenge of the Magician and reach a 14th career Masters final.
O’Sullivan is already a record seven-time winner of the prestigious invitational but is now on the cusp of matching his UK Championship tally of eight crowns.
Somewhat bizarrely, considering how prolific he has been at these major tournaments throughout his illustrious career, O’Sullivan has never won successive Triple Crown events in the same season.
The 48 year-old, of course, captured the UK title a month ago in York and will be a heavy favourite to make it a rapid double here.
Success would extend his record number of Triple Crown titles to an incredible 23.
Carter, meanwhile, is on course to claim a maiden piece of silverware at this level at the age of 44.
The Captain has been in fine form for the best part of a year, ever since claiming a fifth ranking title at the German Masters last February.
The world number ten underlined his renewed confidence with a dizzying period of scoring during his last-four battle with Mark Allen.
Carter reeled off three century breaks in as many frames, becoming the first player in Masters history to achieve the feat.
The 2020 Masters runner-up has also lost in two World Championship finals – in 2008 and again in 2012 when his opponent on both occasions was Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Indeed, Carter boasts a dreadful head-to-head record against O’Sullivan, winning only three times from 25 prior battles.
Just one of those had any particular meaning, although it was a pretty memorable affair in Sheffield during the 2018 World Championship.
On that day, Carter beat O’Sullivan 13-9 in a Crucible classic that is as much remembered for their infamous shoulder barge spat as it is for the actual snooker played.
The pair has rarely seen eye-to-eye, which makes their Masters final against one another all the more intriguing.
The smart money would be on O’Sullivan asserting his usual dominance and racing away to another clear victory.
But among the two, Carter has arguably looked the more composed this week and has probably been producing the most consistent standard overall.
It will be vital for this season’s Wuhan Open finalist to get off to a strong start.
If O’Sullivan gets on top in the first session, it will be difficult to see him squandering this chance to acquire yet another prestigious trophy.
Either way, while featuring a couple of protagonists who share plenty of history and not always in a friendly manner, the 2024 Masters final promises to be box-office viewing.
– draw, live scores, results –
Last 16 (bo11)
Judd Trump 6-5 Kyren Wilson
Mark Williams 4-6 Ali Carter
Mark Selby 6-1 Robert Milkins
Mark Allen 6-5 John Higgins
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Ding Junhui
Neil Robertson 3-6 Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy 6-2 Zhang Anda
Luca Brecel 2-6 Jack Lisowski
Judd Trump 5-6 Ali Carter
Mark Selby 5-6 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy 6-3 Jack Lisowski
Ali Carter 6-3 Mark Allen
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Shaun Murphy
Ali Carter 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Featured photo credit: WST