We’re getting close to finding out which player will land the £80,000 top prize in 2021.
Eight players remain in the hunt for German Masters glory with the quarter-finals set to take place on Friday at the Marshall Arena.
There is a mixture of proven winners and unexpected contenders in the draw, with three further victories required to lift the Brandon Parker Trophy.
The standout fixture is undoubtedly the one between Judd Trump and Ding Junhui – a repeat of the final from seven years ago.
On that occasion, the latter emerged as the champion during a stellar season in which he captured five ranking titles.
Recent years have been less fruitful for the Chinese number one, and instead it has been Trump who has dominated the circuit of late.
The world number one, playing for the first time in 2021 after missing the Masters due to a COVID-19 positive test, maintained his incredible record this season of reaching at least the last eight of every tournament he has participated in after a 5-2 victory over Joe Perry.
Ding thrashed Dominic Dale in lightning-quick fashion, compiling breaks of 104, 101, 66, and 57 in a dominant whitewash display.
In 16 previous encounters in all competitions Ding and Trump can’t be separated with eight victories apiece, but the Englishman has prevailed in the last two ties.
The pair will be quietly looking at the other sections of the draw and thinking to themselves that a win in this match could set up the opportunity to add to their respective ranking event hauls.
Barry Hawkins is the other main threat in the top half, the resurgent 41 year-old having overcome Jak Jones to reach this stage of a tournament for the first time in a year.
Hawkins, who has recently dropped outside the world’s top 16 in the rankings list, will fancy his chances against quarter-final first-timer Jordan Brown.
The Northern Irishman fought back from 4-1 down to overcome Jamie O’Neill in a decider on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Jack Lisowski’s bid for a maiden ranking title continues on the other side of the draw.
The 29 year-old, who lost to Trump in the final of the World Grand Prix in December, beat Luca Brecel to set up a clash against Stuart Bingham.
Bingham, whose last ranking event quarter-final appearance was way back in the 2019 World Open, retrieved a two-frame deficit to deny Robbie Williams in a 5-4 thriller.
The former world champion has played Lisowski eight times in the past, with the head-to-head locked at four wins each.
The remaining German Masters quarter-finals fixture is between another English duo, Tom Ford and Joe O’Connor.
O’Connor thumped Fergal O’Brien 5-0 while Ford continued his heavy scoring this week in a 5-2 victory against Stuart Carrington.
While Ford is regarded as one of the great underachievers in the game, many people tip 25 year-old O’Connor as a future tournament winner, so it will be interesting to see which one can take advantage of this chance to reach the last four.
German Masters Quarter-Finals
Judd Trump (1) vs Ding Junhui (9)
Jordan Brown vs Barry Hawkins
Joe O’Connor vs Tom Ford
Stuart Bingham (10) vs Jack Lisowski (15)
This year’s German Masters is being played in Milton Keynes, away from its usual home of the Tempodrom in Berlin, as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.