This week’s World Grand Prix schedule has reached the semi-finals stage at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
The 32 players who entered the competition on Monday have been whittled down to the final four contenders.
Three victories have been earned to reach this point, but a further two are required to receive the trophy.
Judd Trump vs Cao Yupeng
(Friday, 7pm UTC)
The first encounter on the World Grand Prix semi-finals schedule will take place on Friday evening between Judd Trump and Cao Yupeng.
The pair emerged from contrasting quarter-final showdowns on Thursday to reach the penultimate round.
Top seed Trump thumped Mark Selby with a 5-1 scoreline, while Cao had to fight back from 3-0 behind to edge Mark Williams in a deciding frame.
Having reached a fifth career ranking event semi-final, the latter remains on course to land his maiden ranking title.
Cao has been denied glory at the final hurdle on three occasions, including in this season’s Snooker Shoot Out when he was beaten by Mark Allen.
Trump, of course, is a serial winner who is in fact bidding to capture the World Grand Prix for a record-extending fourth time.
A triumph this weekend for the 34 year-old would also represent his fourth piece of silverware from this campaign alone.
Interestingly, Trump and Cao have encountered each other in two previous ranking semi-finals, with one victory apiece.
Yet the Englishman’s vast experience places him as a heavy favourite in the betting market to progress to Sunday’s final, where a £100,000 jackpot prize will be up for grabs.
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Ding Junhui vs Ronnie O’Sullivan
(Saturday, 7pm UTC)
On Saturday evening, the second semi-final on the World Grand Prix schedule will feature Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui.
Friends off the circuit, O’Sullivan and Ding have spent a lot of time in each other’s company both on and off the baize recently.
The duo shared a couple of high-profile battles against one another on the main tour either side of doing some exhibitions together in Asia around the New Year period.
O’Sullivan beat Ding to claim an eighth UK Championship title in December and again in the first round of last week’s Masters.
In general, the Rocket boasts a far superior head-to-head record against China’s greatest snooker exponent.
Ding, though, played well to beat countryman Zhang Anda 5-2 in the last eight, with O’Sullivan a 5-1 winner over Gary Wilson.
Even though the latter will represent the obvious favourite, particularly given the form he’s in this season, this particular fixture is always a special one.
O’Sullivan and Ding are arguably the two most popular players in the world, making it a mouthwatering clash to savour.
2024 World Grand Prix draw and schedule
Round of 32 (bo7)
Judd Trump 4-2 Jamie Jones
Lyu Haotian 4-3 Chris Wakelin
Mark Selby 4-3 Yuan Sijun
Ali Carter 4-3 Wu Yize
Barry Hawkins 3-4 Cao Yupeng
John Higgins 0-4 Shaun Murphy
Hossein Vafaei 4-3 Matthew Selt
Mark Williams 4-3 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Zhang Anda 4-2 Dominic Dale
Mark Allen 4-2 Jack Lisowski
Noppon Saengkham 4-1 Xiao Guodong
Ding Junhui 4-3 Ricky Walden
Tom Ford 4-1 Jordan Brown
Gary Wilson 4-2 David Gilbert
Zhou Yuelong 4-1 Stephen Maguire
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Pang Junxu
Round of 16 (bo7)
Judd Trump 4-0 Lyu Haotian
Mark Selby 4-3 Ali Carter
Cao Yupeng 4-0 Shaun Murphy
Hossein Vafaei 1-4 Mark Williams
Zhang Anda 4-2 Mark Allen
Noppon Saengkham 1-4 Ding Junhui
Tom Ford 2-4 Gary Wilson
Zhou Yuelong 3-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Judd Trump 5-1 Mark Selby
Cao Yupeng 5-4 Mark Williams
Zhang Anda 2-5 Ding Junhui
Gary Wilson 1-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Judd Trump 6-2 Cao Yupeng
Ding Junhui 1-6 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Judd Trump 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Featured photo credit: WST