Judd Trump kept his German Masters title defence on track with a 5-3 victory over Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals in Milton Keynes.
Reigning champion Trump, who beat Neil Robertson in last year’s final, hit a top break of 101 on the way to seeing off the 2014 winner at the Marshall Arena.
Since the inaugural event in 2011, no champion has ever successfully defended their German Masters crown.
However, the world number one is now just two victories away from achieving that feat after reaching his seventh semi-final from eight ranking events this season.
Trump was facing Ding in a repeat of the 2014 final, in which the Dragon prevailed 9-5 at the Tempodrom in Berlin.
But the Bristolian quickly established his authority on this contest; winning a scrappy opening frame before breaks of 101 and 79 opened up a commanding 3-0 lead.
Targeting his first ranking event semi-final of the campaign, Ding rallied with runs of 83 and 93 to reduce the deficit to a single frame.
But Trump responded by taking two of the next three to prevail.
Next up for the former World champion is fellow left-hander Barry Hawkins, who is through to his first ranking event semi-final in just under two years.
A stunning 116 clearance was the highlight for the world number 18 as he eased to a 5-1 win over Jordan Brown, who was appearing in the maiden ranking event quarter-final of his career after seeing off Shaun Murphy and Jamie O’Neill in deciding frames earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Jack Lisowski made breaks of 88 and 80 on the way to beating Stuart Bingham 5-3.
The world number 14 had won each of his previous two meetings with the former Crucible king, and raced into a 3-0 lead.
Ballrun responded with runs of 81 and 110 to only trail 3-2, but squandered a great chance to level after missing the pink in the sixth – allowing Lisowski to maintain his two-frame buffer.
Although world number 12 Bingham rallied, his opponent held his nerve to remain on course for a maiden ranking title.
His semi-final opponent will be Tom Ford, who cruised to a 5-1 victory over Joe O’Connor in a battle of the Leicester cueists.
The former PTC event winner was in total control during his first ranking event quarter-final of the season; closing in emphatic fashion with a terrific total clearance of 134.
German Masters Snooker 2021 Results
Friday January 29
25 Judd Trump 5-3 Ding Junhui
26 Jordan Brown 1-5 Barry Hawkins
27 Joe O’Connor 1-5 Tom Ford
28 Stuart Bingham 5-3 Jack Lisowski