A look ahead to the semi-finals of the German Masters in Berlin…
DING JUNHUI v RYAN DAY (12pm GMT)
Live on British Eurosport
Ding is looking for the fourth ranking title of an excellent campaign; Day for the first of his career. And while Ding has won the majority of their meetings, Day beat him in both the World and UK Championships in 2012.
The Welshman, three times a runner-up in ranking events, was sixth in the world four years ago but his form disappeared and he slipped down the list. This season, a little below the radar, he has started getting some good results again and already in 2014 has performed well in the Championship League and been a semi-finalist in the Shootout.
So while Ding starts a clear favourite, Day may quietly fancy his chances. One factor, though, is that with 60 matches having been played on eight tables, we are now left with just three to be played on one. The Tempodrom will be pretty much full and this increases the pressure. Ding will feel it too but he has shown this season that he can handle it.
JUDD TRUMP v ROD LAWLER (7pm GMT)
Live on British Eurosport and Eurosport International
This is quintessential tortoise v hare territory as Trump, one of the game’s fastest, most instinctive players, takes on a rejuvenated Lawler, as methodical as they come.
Lawler has made a remarkable comeback from apparent obscurity having dropped off the professional circuit in 2012 but got back on through Q School. Two good seasons, which included a PTC win, have put him provisionally in the top 32 in the money list, which will be used to determine the world rankings from 2014/15.
Lawler may be slow but he still attacks, it just takes him longer than most. He’s a good potter and can obviously frustrate Trump, who will be itching to get on with it.
Trump has lost only three frames in Berlin this week. If not back to his very best he has at least restored confidence. It was always coming and if he can get in early and dominate, rather than allowing Lawler to dictate the pace, then another final surely beckons.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.