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European Masters Snooker 2020 Quarter-Finals preview and order of play: Last Eight lock horns in Austria

Jamie Shaw in European Masters

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Barry Hawkins holds off Mark Selby fightback to reach European Masters Quarter-Finals

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Neil Robertson v Zhou Yuelong: European Masters 2020 Final preview – Aussie ace out to avert upset

World number 19 Un-Nooh was denied by Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo (Photo by World Snooker)

The first ranking tournament of the new decade enters the business end on Friday as the final eight battle it out for a place in the European Masters Semi-Finals.

A number of big names have fallen by the wayside in the early rounds in Dornbirn, Austria so far this week, leaving the door ajar for a potential outsider to claim glory, just as Jimmy Robertson did in 2019.

However, three elite stars involved in last week’s Masters remain in the running, including beaten finalist Ali Carter – who steps up his quest for back-to-back finals with a clash against Scott Donaldson.

Carter took full advantage of his unexpected call-up to The Masters following Ronnie O’Sullivan’s withdrawal by reaching the final, only to lose out to Essex rival Stuart Bingham.

Carter, who last claimed a ranking title at the 2016 World Open, defeated Tian Pengfei 5-3 in Round One before recovering from 2-0 down to edge out Michael Holt in a decider.

He now faces a tricky test against an unflappable opponent appearing in his second successive ranking Quarter-Final and sixth in total.

Donaldson, 25, has climbed to a career-high 26th in the world rankings and is eyeing a third upset of the week, having already knocked out multiple ranking event winners Kyren Wilson and Ding Junhui so far.

The afternoon’s other Quarter-Final presents an equally captivating contest as China Open champion Neil Robertson faces Shoot-Out winner Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

Robertson is the highest ranked player left standing in the competition, having seen off Lyu Haotian and Graeme Dott by 5-2 scorelines so far.

The Australian was whitewashed 4-0 by Un-Nooh in their most recent meeting at last month’s Scottish Open, but their most notable encounter came at the 2015 UK Championship, when Un-Nooh famously missed the black for a 147 break en route to defeat.

Thai ace Un-Nooh is appearing in a third ranking Quarter-Final of the season and will be riding high after reeling off three consecutive frames to edge out John Higgins 5-4 on Thursday.

The evening session sees three-time ranking event winner Barry Hawkins take on 2018 Championship League finalist Zhou Yuelong.

Hawkins is aiming to put a miserable first half of the season behind him by going all the way this weekend and has won through to only his second ranking Quarter-Final of the campaign.

The former world finalist began by defeating David Lilley 5-2, before staving off a spirited Mark Selby fightback from 4-0 down to four apiece by closing out a thrilling 5-4 victory.

Zhou is also into his second ranking Quarter-Final of the season after dispatching Welsh duo Mark Williams and Jackson Page and is aiming to replicate his run to the Semi-Finals of this competition in 2017.

Elsewhere, two players to have reached a World Championship Semi-Final collide as Marco Fu takes on Gary Wilson.

Fu, who has been beset with eyesight issues in recent seasons, has steadily improved as the season has gone on and now finds himself at this stage of a ranking event for the first time since August 2018.

The Hong Kong ace has brushed aside Chinese duo Lu Ning and Xiao Guodong and now comes up against Wilson for the first time in six years.

Wilson, a semi-finalist at The Crucible last year, has not kicked on from that landmark run as he would have liked, but will fancy his chances of challenging for a maiden ranking title here.

The Tyneside cueist has dropped just two frames en route to the Quarter-Finals, thrashing Luca Brecel and Zhao Xintong 5-1.

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


European Masters 2020 Match Schedule

Friday January 24


Ali Carter v Scott Donaldson
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Neil Robertson

Zhou Yuelong v Barry Hawkins
Marco Fu v Gary Wilson