Home favourite Ding Junhui and World Champion Mark Selby will meet again after cruising past their respective semi-final opponents at the International Championship in China.
Comfortable victories for both superstars
Ding has the advantage of an extra day's rest and playing in his native China after defeating Judd Trump 9-4 in the last round. The World number nine stormed into a 6-0 lead with healthy breaks of 64 and 93, whilst his opponent failed to pot in four consecutive frames. Trump did make a mini revival before and after the interval as he won four out of five frames with contributions of 81, 90 and 70. Yet the Englishman had left himself too much to do and an inspired finale from Ding helped him to the final two frames with formulations of 134 and 72.
Selby had to wait an extra day before his semi-final contest but was just as impressive in his dismantling of Stuart Bingham. The World Champion fell two frames behind after Bingham made breaks of 58 and 127. A 66 helped Selby strike back but the turning point came in frame four. Bingham made 51 but Selby trumped him with a 68 to draw level and take control of the contest. The World number one was to win seven of the next eight frames, making breaks between 58 and 125 in all of them.
Nothing to separate the pair in the form book
Ding and Selby have met 16 times in the past, with the latter edging the head-to-head 9-7. They have met in two finals in 2016, including the World Championship where Selby won 18-14. However, Ding did formulate a fraction of revenge last month when he won the Shanghai Masters 10-6. China's favourite will hope he can repeat history with home advantage again this weekend.
Both players are in impeccable form and could easily be described as the best players of 2016/17 thus far. Ding has two tournament victories to his name and has only lost one of his last 20 matches. Selby won the Paul Hunter Classic earlier in the season and has won 16 of his last 19 matches.