John Higgins resumes his quest for a second successive Players Championship title against Jimmy Robertson in the quarter-finals on Friday.
The Wizard stormed to victory in emphatic fashion 12 months ago; dropping just four frames overall as Jordan Brown, Mark Selby, Kyren Wilson and Ronnie O’Sullivan were all ruthlessly put to the sword.
Higgins made a slow start to his title defence against Hossein Vafaei in the opening round; the recently crowned Shootout winner taking an early 2-0 lead.
However, the four-time World champion’s experience eventually showed as he won six of the next seven frames, while making three centuries along the way.
And the 46-year-old would love to build on his momentum during an impressive season that has already seen him capture the Championship League and reach a further four finals.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Robertson is set for his third appearance in a ranking event quarter-final this term.
The Sussex cueist has responded well having almost fallen off the tour last season; narrowly surviving during the World Championship qualifiers in April.
Now up to 38th in the world rankings, the British Open semi-finalist had never won a match in his four previous appearances in this competition. That included a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Higgins in the 2014 first round.
However, he ended the drought in style; reeling off six successive frames after losing the opener against Scottish Open champion Luca Brecel in the first round.
Robertson is now targeting only his second-ever win over Higgins; his sole previous victory coming in the 2018 Championship League.
Reigning English Open and Masters champion Neil Robertson awaits the winner of this showdown in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Play gets underway at 1pm GMT on Friday with the match contested over the best of 11 frames at Aldersley Leisure Village on Wolverhampton, with a live stream available in the UK and various other regions worldwide.
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