Neil Robertson came through a 5-4 victor after an enthralling and high quality clash with China’s world number 34 Xiao Guodong.
The Australian Triple Crown winner can secure an immediate return to the world’s top 16 if he were to lift the title this week. He dropped down to 20th in the rankings after an agonising 6-5 defeat against Mark Joyce at last week’s UK Championship.
Despite losing out by the narrowest of margins today, two-time ranking event finalist Xiao can reflect positively on his best run of the season so far.
The pair went blow for blow and there were no frames without a contribution of over fifty. The 2013 Shanghai Masters finalist got the opening frame on the board thanks to a cool and composed break of 63. Robertson responded, before Xiao regained the lead at 2-1.
Robertson then sprung into gear. Back to back breaks of 114 and 128 saw him take the lead for the first time at 3-2. However, he couldn’t shake off Xiao who restored parity.
Another century break of 118 saw Robertson move one from victory, but he was again pegged back. In the deciding frame the 35-year-old forced himself over the line with a brilliant run of 79. He will face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins in the last four.
“Sometimes I was thinking to myself is this guy going to fade away or what? That is the standard of snooker these days,” said Robertson. “If I had lost that match it would have been a real head scratcher. I didn’t really do anything wrong at all, so I am over the moon with the result.
“The most important thing is that I am playing very well. If I keep this up, then I am bound to pick up a trophy or two before the end of the season.
“If I play Ronnie tomorrow the crowd will be against me. If I play John the crowd will be against me. It will just be an amazing occasion to face either player.”
Judd Trump surged past home favourite Stephen Maguire 5-2 and book his spot in the last four.
The Ace in the Pack has already claimed ranking silverware this season after defending his title at the European Masters in Belgium. Today he played the more assured snooker and top scored with a break of 102.
Trump said: “It was a tough game in the end. Even though it was only 5-2. I am very happy to have got over the line when I did.
“He lost his head early on so I was just trying to keep on and keep playing like I did and not make it too easy for him.”