Barry Hawkins is targeting his third Triple Crown final when he plays Zhao Xintong in the UK Championship last four on Saturday.
The two left-handers collide at the York Barbican for the right to take on Luca Brecel in Sunday’s showpiece.
Now the highest-ranked player remaining in the tournament, world number 14 Hawkins has only dropped eight frames on the way to his maiden UK semi-final.
The Hawk has slipped under the radar somewhat this week; quietly going about his business on the outside tables.
However, he is never shy of the big stage, having reached the 2013 World Championship final as well as the Masters showpiece three years later.
Although favourite to progress here, the Kent cueist will certainly not be taking anything for granted against Zhao.
After all, the world number 26 has already defeated three-time champion John Higgins in a deciding frame, while reeling off six in a row in his quarter-final win over Jack Lisowski on Friday.
It is fair to say he has certainly earned the right to reach only his second ranking event semi-final – and first since the 2018 China Championship.
Zhao is now just two victories away from becoming only the fourth overseas winner of this tournament – after Patsy Fagan, Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson.
Not only that, but it would also see him climb into the world’s top 16 for the first time and snatch the final available slot at next month’s Masters.
Play gets underway at 7pm GMT on Saturday with the best of 11 frames determining who will progress to face Brecel in the 2021 UK Championship final at the York Barbican Centre.
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