Masters Snooker 2020 Semi-Finals preview and order of play: Final four face off at Ally Pally

Jamie Shaw in The Masters

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Ali Carter “flabbergasted” over yellow incident at The Masters

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Stuart Bingham v Ali Carter: Masters 2020 Final preview – Essex duo vie to claim maiden Masters crown

Murphy shakes hands with Carter (Photo by John Walton/PA Images)

The Semi-Finals take centre stage across two sessions at The Masters on Saturday as the final four face off at Alexandra Palace.

Only one of the four remaining hopefuls has previously lifted this prestigious trophy, but an unpredictable tournament has left everyone guessing as to who will go the distance.

The afternoon’s opening Semi-Final sees 2015 champion Shaun Murphy take on world number 17 Ali Carter for the third time in this elite competition.

Murphy completed an illustrious career Triple Crown with glory here five years ago and has banished his below-par record here since to reach his fifth Masters Semi-Final.

The number nine seed began his run by dethroning defending champion Judd Trump 6-3 in arguably the stand-out match of the tournament so far, before overcoming 2017 finalist Joe Perry by the same scoreline.

Murphy is bidding to follow up his success at this season’s China Championship, in addition to runner-up spots at the International Championship and Shanghai Masters.

Carter, meanwhile, has taken full advantage of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s withdrawal from the competition by winning through to the Last Four for the first time, 20 years on from his debut appearance.

Carter kicked off with a 6-4 scalp of three-time champion Mark Selby in Round One before battling past two-time winner John Higgins 6-3 amid some latenight controversy surrounding a foul on a yellow which he insisted he had hit, forcing the referee to incorrectly overturn the initial decision.

Carter has won nine of his 17 previous meetings with Murphy, though he lost the most recent of which 6-4 in Round One of the 2018 Masters.

The second Semi-Final sees two players vying to reach their first Masters final as Stuart Bingham takes on red hot debutant Dave Gilbert.

An incredible stat has seen Bingham win all ten of their previous encounters dating back to 2005, with this their first meeting beyond the Last 16 stage of any event.

Bingham finds himself in a second Masters Semi-Final, four years on from his first, having failed to win a match in any of his other eight appearances.

The number 12 seed brushed aside Mark Williams 6-2 in his opener before reeling off five consecutive frames from 4-1 down to defeat 2018 finalist Kyren Wilson 6-4 on Friday night.

Gilbert, meanwhile, has enjoyed a dream debut in this competition, and is into a second Triple Crown Semi-Final in the space of a year, following on from his landmark run at The Crucible in 2019.

Four times a ranking event finalist, Gilbert is bidding for his first major silverware and has lit up the tournament this week, starting with a 6-1 rout of 2018 champion Mark Allen.

He then registered the highest break of the tournament so far with a stunning 144 on the way to a 6-2 victory over Stephen Maguire and will now be desperate to stop the rot against his nemesis Bingham.

The action gets underway from 1pm GMT, with Semi-Final matches to be contested over the best of 11 frames.

WATCH MASTERS SNOOKER STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Dafabet Masters 2020 Match Schedule

Saturday January 18

Semi-Finals

1pm
Shaun Murphy v Ali Carter

7pm
David Gilbert v Stuart Bingham