Eight players today earned quarter-final places at the inaugural World Snooker Federation Championship in Malta, and one of them will leave on Saturday (March 24) night having secured their place on the World Snooker Tour for the next two seasons.
The stakes for victory tomorrow could hardly be higher as all four semi-finalists will earn places at next month's professional World Championship qualifiers in Sheffield.
Among the first players to book their places in the last eight this evening were Poland’s Adam Stefanow and former professional Igor Figueiredo, who will now meet with a place in Sheffield at stake tomorrow.
Playing on the main table at the Dolmen Hotel against Duncan Bezzina, the last of the Maltese players in action in their home country, Stefanow closed out a comfortable 4-1 victory with breaks of 70 and 52 to progress.
It was a similar story for Figueiredo against Irish former pro Michael Judge as runs of 86 and 89 helped secure the win.
The highest break of the evening was made by Iceland’s Kristjan Helgason, who made 101 in a swift 4-0 victory against Marcin Nitschke of Poland.
There he will face Kishan Hirani, one of three Welsh players to come through.
Hirani saw off Singapore’s Lim Chun Kiat following a tense final frame.
In the bottom half of the draw, the second of the evening’s Welsh winners Alex Taubman edged out former professional Kuldesh Johal 4-3.
Awaiting him in the quarter-finals will be another former main tour player, Poland’s Kacper Filipiak who hit a top break of 76 in a 4-0 whitewash of Scotland’s Michael Collumb.
The final quarter-final match will see 23-year-old Jamie Clarke - looking to make his breakthrough onto the main tour for the first time - take on the impressive Chinese youngster Luo Honghao.
The quarter-finals get underway at 11.00am local time tomorrow.