John Higgins vs Xu Si: Indian Open Semi-Final 2017 Preview – Surprise package eyeing Higgins scalp

Jonathan Davies in Indian Open

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David Gilbert battles back to edge out Kurt Maflin at the Indian Open as Murphy and Bingham safely progress

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John Higgins claims historic victory at the Indian Open

Higgins is just two matches away from a 29th ranking title (credit:Getty Images)

Xu Si is aiming to extend his fairy-tale run at the Indian Open when he locks horns with John Higgins in what promises to be a mouth-watering semi-final showdown in Vishakhapatnam on Saturday.

It is very much a case of youth versus experience in the Last Four, as the four-time World champion battles the new teenage professional for a place in the final.

Appearing in the final stages of a ranking event for the first time since joining the tour at the start of this season, Xu has been a revelation in India.

The 19-year-old, who appears to be the latest hot prospect to hail from China, has demonstrated that with a mixture of dominance and impressive character this week.

After whitewashing Robin Hull 4-0 in the first round, the teenager prevailed in deciding frames against Sean O’Sullivan and three-time ranking event winner Ricky Walden to set up a showdown with David Gilbert in the quarter-finals.

Can Xu add Higgins to his list of scalps in India this week?

Xu picked up from where he left off with a surprisingly commanding victory over the world number 21, who was outscored by 299 points to 40 in a very one-sided affair.

Nevertheless, he now faces the biggest match since turning professional against one of the all-time greats in Higgins, who is two wins away from claiming the 29th ranking title of an illustrious career.

Having suffered a scare against another Chinese prodigy in Zhao Xintong in round one – recovering from 2-0 down to eventually prevail a narrow 4-3 winner – the world number three has conceded just three frames in as many matches since.

The four-time World champion, who had not been past the Last 16 in India prior to this week, beat Michael Holt 4-1 before enjoying a dominant 4-0 whitewash of Liam Highfield in the quarter-finals and, although knowing he cannot afford to take anything for granted, the Scotsman should be confident of going all the way to the title.

Either reigning champion Anthony McGill or veteran Mark King awaits the winner of this match in the 2017 Indian Open final later Saturday.

The match breaks off at around 8.30am BST and will be contested over the best of seven frames in Vishakhapatnam.