The two winners of the previous three World Championships will be part of a talented set of players in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters as the race for the fourth ranking competition of the year heats-up.
Mark Selby v Stuart Bingham
These two World Champions will meet in the first semi-final on Saturday morning. The current holder, Mark Selby, is now unbeaten in his last ten ranking matches after defeating Ryan Day in the last eight. The Paul Hunter Classic winner fought hard to take a 4-1 lead as both players struggled to produce a break of note. Day added some pressure with two consecutive frames, though Selby was able to edge over the line despite his highest break of the match being a lowly 52.
The World number one will face the man directly below him in the rankings, Stuart Bingham. The 40-year-old endured a challenging season last year after winning the 2014/15 World Championship and had failed to progress past the third round in the previous four ranking events. Yet just one defeat in his last thirteen matches suggests Bingham could be rekindling his form, easing past Ali Carter in the last eight who won a solitary frame by just one point.
Stephen Maguire v Ding Junhui
On paper Stephen Maguire is the rank outsider in the competition but has picked up some excellent form in the previous rounds. He has dropped just four frames in four matches, three of which came against Barry Hawkins. He is also the only player to record a maximum break in any professional competition this season. A comfortable 5-1 victory against Michael White secured his place against the local favourite.
Ding Junhui is the home crowd's hero and will be looking to build upon nine unbeaten matches, including victory in the 6 Red World Championship. His match against Michael Holt was arguably the one of highest quality in the last eight with six half century breaks, one of which was converted to 103 by Ding, shared between them. A tight contest was only separated when Ding won the final two frames to earn a 5-3 victory.