Mark Selby is aiming to reach his first Masters semi-final in eight years when he locks horns with Barry Hawkins at Alexandra Palace on Friday.
The Jester is one of only six players to have captured snooker’s most prestigious invitational title on three or more occasions, lifting the trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2013.
Indeed, he reached at least the semi-finals in five of his first seven appearances after winning the crown at the first attempt in 2008.
However, the reigning World champion has failed to build on that in recent times. In fact, his 6-3 victory over Stephen Maguire in the opening round provided him with only a second win in six matches at the tournament.
He was beaten 6-3 by Hawkins when the pair met at this stage in 2017; the Hawk advancing to a second straight semi-final and denying the then reigning World and UK champion the chance to hold all three Triple Crowns at once.
In fact, the 2016 runner-up has prevailed in three of their previous five encounters in snooker’s big three events, including both of their showdowns at the Crucible.
Absent last year after dropping out of the top 16, Hawkins marked his Masters return in style; reeling off five successive frames to beat Shaun Murphy 6-2 in the opening round.
The lowest-ranked player remaining in the tournament, the world number 10 will now look to reach his third semi-final – and first in five years.
Judd Trump awaits the winner of this clash in the last four following his comprehensive 6-1 rout of Kyren Wilson earlier today.
Play gets underway at 7pm GMT on Friday with the match contested over the best of 11 frames at Alexandra Palace.