Into the last four we go then at the 2017 Masters and not the line up that many would have expected
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Marco Fu
Ronnie O'Sullivan is now within touching distance of defending his crown & claiming a seventh Masters title,but will have to first get past an opponent in Fu who is riding the crest of a wave at the moment.
Ronnie reached yet another Masters semi final after getting the better of Neil Robertson in a match that never really lived up to expectations,Not that it didn't start well,the first couple of frames were shared with big breaks,but from here things got little scrappy.Although showing flashes of form as he did in his first match,Robertson is still quite clearly not yet back to his best and Ronnie took full advantage to run out a comfortable 6-3 winner.
Marco Fu for his part kept up his fine recent form & once again produced a superb all round display to easily sweep by Mark Allen 6-2.
So what of this semi final,Well of course Fu's recent good run didn't just begin in his victory in Scotland,but in the UK Championship where ,but for a kick he may well have beaten Ronnie to reach the final.He will also have no fear of playing Ronnie as he has beaten him on some of the games big stages in the past.
Still though for all this I just think Ronnie will win this.He has certainly not been near his best yet this week,but that can always just a day away with Ronnie & I think the carrot of another big title will spur him on to victory.It will be close though.
Ronnie to win 6-4
Barry Hawkins v Joe Perry
Not the pairing many would have expected ,but both these two are here on merit having produced some dominant performances this week.
Hawkins has a record as good as anyone on the games biggest stages in recent years & that continued today as he brought an end to the Mark Selbys dreams of the "Selby Slam".
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the afternoon for Hawkins was the fact that when it twice looked as if Selby was about to claw his way back,he managed to steady the ship and was well worth his 6-3 victory.
Perry meanwhile has been on paper the most impressive performer this week & he followed up his 6-1 victory over Bingham with another 6-1 win tonight against a badly out of sorts Ding Junhui.
This one is hard to call,but I just think the greater experience at this stage could be the telling factor and I expect Hawkins to reach the final for a second year in a row
Hawkins to win 6-3