Ding Junhui continues his quest for a first ranking title in over two years when he faces Matthew Selt in the Turkish Masters semi-finals on Saturday.
The players ranked 31st and 32nd in the world collide in the first of the last-four clashes at the Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel in Antalya, with Judd Trump or Shaun Murphy awaiting the winner in Sunday’s showpiece.
The trailblazer that paved the way for the recent successes of compatriots Zhao Xintong, Yan Bingtao and Fan Zhengyi, world number 32 Ding is now officially the fifth highest-ranked Chinese player on the circuit.
Nevertheless, the Dragon has enjoyed a timely upturn in fortune this week, having not previously progressed beyond the last 16 of any ranking event during the campaign.
Ding overturned a 4-1 deficit to defeat Robert Milkins 5-4, while also overcoming Si Jiahui in a decider and recovering from 3-1 down to beat Kyren Wilson 5-3.
He then endured a much smoother passage in the quarter-finals, with breaks of 102, 72 and 64 sealing a 5-1 win over former Crucible king Graeme Dott.
The three-time UK champion is now through to his 31st ranking semi-final – and first since completing his hat-trick of crowns at the York Barbican in December 2019.
By contrast, this is Selt’s fourth appearance at this stage of a ranking event.
The former Indian Open champion prevailed 5-4 in a hard-fought encounter with Alexander Ursenbacher at the start of the week.
However, he has since dropped just six frames on the way to a first semi-final of the campaign; putting reigning UK champion Zhao to the sword, as well as Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and former German Masters winner Martin Gould.
Play gets underway at 11.30am GMT on Saturday with the match contested over the best of 11 frames at the Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel in Antalya.