The Quarter-Finals take centre stage at the 2018 World Open in Yushan on Friday as a clutch of in-form outsiders aim to take a step closer to a maiden ranking title.
The £735,000 tournament enters its business end as the eight remaining hopefuls look to keep their title pursuits on track in the second ranking event of the season.
World number one Mark Selby and last year’s beaten finalist Kyren Wilson were among the latest top 16 ranked stars to head home on Thursday, leaving just three previous ranking event winners in the running.
Undoubtedly the pick of the Quarter-Final ties sees reigning and three-time World Champion Mark Williams up against a red hot Jack Lisowski.
After barely lifting a cue since his memorable Crucible triumph in May, Williams has kick-started his campaign with a fine run this week, recovering from an early scare in his held over tie with Lukas Kleckers to drop just four frames in the main event so far.
The world number three is bidding to reach the Semi-Finals of this event since 2010 – when it was staged for the first time in Glasgow.
Lisowski, meanwhile, has enjoyed a blistering start to the 2018/19 season, following up his runner-up spot in Riga with a run to the Last Eight of a major ranking event for only the fourth time in his career.
All four of those Quarter-Final appearances have come in China for the 27-year-old – who is closing in on a place in the world’s top 16 for the first time.
Noppon Saengkham’s reward for his dramatic black ball victory over Selby is a show-down with Xiao Guodong – China’s last remaining hope in the competition.
World number 53 Saengkham pulled off arguably the biggest win of his career to reach only his third ranking Quarter-Final and now has his sights set on equalling his best ever run.
Xiao has the hopes of the host nation resting on his shoulders after witnessing the likes of Ding Junhui, Liang Wenbo and Yan Bingtao all suffer premature exits.
The 29-year-old is appearing in his fourth ranking Quarter-Final in the space of 12 months following wins over Michael Georgiou, Jak Jones and Anthony Hamilton.
Marco Fu looks to book his place in a first ranking Semi-Final for almost 18 months by overcoming former International Championship finalist David Gilbert.
Fu has competed in just two televised tournaments this year after undergoing eye surgery but is beginning to make up for lost time, having produced some superb snooker en route to this stage.
The Hong Kong ace came through successive deciders against Peter Ebdon and Andrew Higginson before compiling breaks of 78 and 118, 103, 93 and 96 in defeating Robert Milkins 5-2.
Gilbert is featuring in his first ranking Quarter-Final since this very event 12 months ago – where he was eventually beaten by Mark Allen.
The Tamworth cueist benefited from a walkover in Round One but has gone on to defeat 2016 champion Ali Carter and Ricky Walden.
Another fascinating tie sees three-time major winner Barry Hawkins take on former China Open finalist Gary Wilson.
Hawkins, whose last triumph came at the 2017 World Grand Prix, has sustained the form which led him to the Semi-Finals of this year’s World Championship, defeating Sunny Akani, Michael Holt and Matthew Selt to remain a key contender for glory.
Tyneside cueist Wilson finds himself in only a third major Quarter-Final, having notably knocked out Judd Trump in Round Two and is now out to make it back-to-back wins over Hawkins, albeit three years after their most recent encounter.
The action gets underway from 7.30am BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of nine frames.
World Open 2018 Match Schedule
All times BST (Local time seven hours ahead)
Friday August 10
Marco Fu v David Gilbert
Barry Hawkins v Gary Wilson
Noppon Saengkham v Xiao Guodong
Jack Lisowski v Mark Williams