Quarters finals completed and eight has become four in the hunt for the 2017 world title.
The first semi final will be a rematch of last years final,as Mark Selby once again faces Ding Junhui over four sessions at the Crucible.
Selby reached yet another semi final here with a dominant display all round matchplay to ease past Marco Fu 13-3 with a session to spare.
Selby had started this championship with a comfortable,but not spectacular win, over Fergal O'Brien. Indeed he wasn't that brilliant in his first two session against Xiao in round two,but in the last session of that one something clicked into gear for him and that continued here as he was simply superb against Fu. There is no better time to be finding your best form than at the business end of world championship .
In many ways the same thing applies to his opponent Ding Junhui who,got a major monkey off his back by finally recording a big tournament win over Ronnie O'Sullivan in a cracking match today.
The damage in this one was done by Ding in the middle session where a series of big breaks left him with a 10-6 overnight lead. Good as that was though,it was perhaps even more impressive today that ,when Ronnie started to fight back,his game held together and the big breaks kept rolling in as he got over the line in the end 13-10.
So what can we expect here? Well looking back at last years final,it could be argued that it was the first session ,where Selby got off to a flyer leading 6-0 that decided things,as try as he might, Ding could not get back level with him.Obviously the Chinese no.1 will be hoping for a better start here and I just think that if he can stay with Selby early on,that that may just make the difference.
I'm going for a Ding win 17-13
The other semi final pits four time champion John Higgins against Barry Hawkins who has become something of a Crucible specialist in recent seasons with a number of notable scalps.
Higgins reached his first semi final here since 2011 with a comfortable 13-6 win over Kyren Wilson whereas Hawkins will be pleased that,after seeing his good lead over Stephen Maguire disappear when the Scot levelled at 9-9,he managed to rally again to run out a 13-9 winner.
For this one I think we can apply the same logic as we did in the quarter finals.If Higgins plays his best,then there is only one winner ,but if he's below that for any reason,then Hawkins is just the type of player who could take advantage.That said though Higgins has always been the type who,the further he get into a tournament ,the harder he is to beat and I expect him to come out on top here Score prediction 17-10
Away from the table Barry Hearn made some exciting announcements today relating to a new Challenge tour,better dispersal of the prize money further down the ranking and the eradication of tournament entry fees. All positive things .Now if only he'd do something with the UK Championship to make it great again and a few less best of sevens and things would be great!
PS I hope some of you had a few pound on my recommended bets at the start,I suggested Higgins (2/1) to win his quarter & Ding 5/2 to win his .Also value each way title bets on Higgins 16/1 & Hawkins 18/1 still both in play with one guaranteed some return.