Former Rotherham snooker star Shaun Murphy will face Mark Allen in the semi-finals of the Dafabet Masters after both men enjoyed 6-4 wins on Friday.
Murphy bested Stephen Maguire in a high-scoring affair which was a welcome tonic after Allen scrapped his way past Joe Perry in a contest Perry later described as a “comedy of errors”.
Allen and Murphy complete the field for the semi-finals, which will also see Ronnie O’Sullivan face Neil Robertson.
Maguire made a break of 137 to take the opening frame in style, helping him to a 2-0 lead, but Murphy responded in the third with a break of 103, coming back to level it at 2-2 and again at 3-3.
Murphy, who has made the semi-finals four years in a row, then made another break of 103 in the ninth to set him on his way to victory.
The manner of Murphy’s win should make him the favourite against Allen, who was far less convincing in a game of attrition with Perry.
Allen made only one break of more than 50 in a scrappy affair but played his better snooker as the game went on, winning the final two frames to claim a 6-4 success.
Perry was struggling for rhythm himself, but came from 3-1 down to tie it with breaks of 50 and 68.
He then levelled it again with a break of 67 in the eighth frame, winning it 104-24, the only time either player reached three figures.
“It was embarrassing at times,” Allen said on worldsnooker.com. “I said after my first match that we are out there to entertain people, but that was nowhere near entertainment. It was as bad as it gets for two professional snooker players, let alone two of the top players.
“But I’m proud of the way I stayed calm, and I fancied the job at 4-4, even though Joe had scored more heavily than me. I made a good break at 4-4 and didn’t miss much in the last frame. I showed again that I’ve got good bottle under pressure.”
Perry added: “It was a comedy of errors. When you start missing balls then tension and anxiety creep in and it just snowballs. Those type of matches always tend to go close. I lost all of the close frames - or maybe I threw them away.
“Over a long season you’re bound to play the odd bad game, you just don’t want to do it on a big stage like this. But I’ll go into my next match as positive and confident as ever.”