Judd Trump continues his quest for a maiden Welsh Open title against Hossein Vafaei in the semi-finals at Celtic Manor Resort on Saturday.
The Ace and Prince of Persia lock horns for the right to face either Jack Lisowski or Ali Carter in Sunday’s showpiece.
An ever-present in the event since 2006, the Welsh crown has so far eluded Trump.
The Bristolian came closest to donning it five years ago, when he narrowly lost 9-8 to Stuart Bingham in the final.
The most successful player in the history of the Home Nations series with four titles, Trump is set to appear in his 10th such semi-final.
It will also be his 50th appearance in the last four of a ranking event – and third at this tournament.
The highest-ranked remaining player, the world number three struggled to fire on all cylinders during his mouth-watering clash with an emotional Neil Robertson on Friday, but continued to plug away and get over the line.
Nevertheless, he knows he must improve against Vafaei, who has prevailed in each of their last three meetings including a 4-2 win in the third round of last year’s Welsh Open.
For the fourth time in five matches this week, the popular Iranian came through a decider in his quarter-final victory over Zhang Anda, brilliantly recovering from 4-1 down to do so.
This is only Vafaei’s second venture beyond the last 16 of a ranking event this season; although the previous one culminated in him landing maiden silverware at the Shootout.
The world number 21 will hope that serves as a good omen heading into his second Home Nations semi-final – and second at the Welsh Open having also reached this stage in 2019.
Play gets underway at 1pm GMT on Saturday with the first semi-final contested over the best of 11 frames at Celtic Manor Resort.
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