By contrasting methods today, Matthew Stevens and Mark Allen ensured they would contest the final of the Haikou World Open.
While Stevens was taken to the wire by Neil Robertson in a lengthy battle, Allen played flawlessly to see off John Higgins.
Stevens has not appeared in a ranking tournament final since the 2008 Bahrain Championship, two and a half years ago. He has still won only one ranking title.
This week he has used three different cues. His own failed to make it off the plane so he borrowed first Mark Selby’s and then Mark Williams’s before reverting to old faithful.
The Welshman compiled seven half century breaks and finished off well in the decider as Robertson, not for the first time this season, failed to make good on promising early form in a tournament.
Allen was quite simply outstanding in beating Higgins 6-2. Higgins didn’t pot a ball in any of the last four frames. He was completely shut out and every part of Allen’s game was strong.
The defending champion had not been too happy with his form earlier in the event but must surely rate this as one of his best ever performances.
So the stage is set for an intriguing final. Stevens has endured a reputation as a bit of a nearly man, despite having won the UK Championship and Masters during his career.
Happy go lucky, he seems to have shrugged off the disappointments and would be a popular winner.
Allen, though, looks really good. The Northern Irishman knew he would have to play well against an in form Higgins and did. If he can maintain that intensity in the final then a title defence seems likely.