Ronnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy will renew acquaintances tomorrow night in the ManBetX Champion of Champions.
Murphy, 36, got the better of five-time world champion O’Sullivan 12 months ago in the final in Coventry.
But O’Sullivan swiftly gained revenge, pipping Murphy – the 2005 world champion – in the finals of last year’s UK Championship in York and Players Championship.
Now the pair will meet in tomorrow’s first semi-final of a tournament which sees all event winners from the last 12 months compete in Coventry.
O’Sullivan, 42, heads into the last-four showdown in impressive fashion, beating Stuart Bingham and making four centuries to see off rival John Higgins 6-3.
The 2013 and 2014 champion – runner-up in the last two years – knocked in breaks of 57 and 109, before Higgins edged in front 3-2.
But the world No 3 took just 47 minutes to win the last four frames, with swift clearances of 101, 137 and 114 to secure his semi-final spot.
“I won a lot of frames in one visit,” said O’Sullivan. “If you can keep clearing up it’s a much smoother match.
“I’m not playing as much, enjoying the tournaments that I do play in and pacing myself. When I do play I give it my best.
“John Higgins and Stephen Hendry are the two greatest players I have played so I know I have to play brilliant snooker against John.
“You can sit in your chair for five or six frames and not get a shot, you’re always aware that could happen.”
Today’s action sees Mark Selby face Neil Robertson, while Barry Hawkins tackles Mark Allen, with the group winner to play Kyren Wilson in the last four.