The 2017 World Snooker Championship is drawing to a close with the Semi-finals well underway.
However, the showpiece event is still to take place with four of the world’s best still in contention to claim the title at Sheffield’s iconic Crucible Theatre.
Currently, defending champion Mark Selby is doing battle with Ronnie O Sullivan’s conqueror Ding Junhui, whilst in the other Semi-final, Scotland’s John Higgins is going cue to cue with Englishman Barry Hawkins.
Two of these will comprise the final which is played over 31 frames and is due to finish on bank holiday Monday, but what of each player’s chances?
33-year-old Selby is seeking his third snooker World Championship title having claimed top honours in 2014 and 2016.
The Jester from Leicester paraded the trophy around Leicester City’s King Power stadium last year in what was a stunning month of May for the city.
This time around, Englishman Selby must first overcome a spirited Ding Junhui in order to make the final, assuming he does, then Selby will make a daunting opponent for whoever succeeds out of Higgins and Hawkins.
Having comfortably defeated Marco Fu 13-3 in the Quarter finals, Selby has also had a little more rest than some of his competitors and the two-time champion will be desperate to grab a third World title.
Chinese native Ding Junhui was in explementary form in dispatching many people’s tournament favourite Ronnie O Sullivan in the quarter finals.
It was a close fought match but Junhui kept his concentration levels to the highest order and caused what many people saw as a shock, although they shouldn’t have.
The 30-year-old has held the number one spot in the world and is ominously known as ‘Ding the merciless’.
He certainly showed O Sullivan no mercy on his way to a 13-10 victory and is the man on form.
Four-time world champion John Higgins can never be discounted from any tournament. The Scotsman knows how to win and that experience could prove invaluable if he reaches the final.
A comfortable quarter final victory over Kyren Wilson leaves Higgins relatively fresh in his semi-final against Barry Hawkins, and that could be the deciding factor.
That, and of course his undeniable talent, few players would relish playing against an opponent as punishing as Higgins in any match, let alone a final.
38-year-old Hawkins is perhaps seen as the least likely winner of the four semi-finalists, however, that may be a little unfair as the Englishman is certainly there on merit.
2014 remains Hawkins best year to date when he reached a career high fourth best player in the world but victory at the crucible will see his current ranking of 12th take a significant hike.
An impressive performance in the quarter finals, saw Hawkins dispose Stephen Maguire 13-9 to give him belief that he could not just make the final, but actually win it.
Whoever out of the four who will be contesting the final will become a worthy winner, we just need to find out who is the best man out of 31 frames first.