Ronnie O'Sullivan made hard work of beating Ali Carter 5-4 to reach the Welsh Open semi-finals in Newport.
Ronnie O'Sullivan came from two frames down to win his quarter-final
O'Sullivan came back from 2-0 down to win the deciding frame and now faces Shaun Murphy, who thrashed Joe Perry 5-0 - the first whitewash of the event.
Earlier, Stephen Hendry beat Stephen Lee 5-2 to take his place in Saturday's semi-finals.
The in-form Mark Selby will play Hendry in the last-four after he beat John Higgins 5-2 in his quarter-final match.
O'Sullivan, the world number five, insists that the competition among the world's elite is becoming more fierce.
"The standard of snooker now is so high, I think that there's a change of guard," he said.
"I didn't really think there was, but you've got the likes of [Selby] coming through and [Shaun] Murphy.
"There are so many good players coming through. I still think the old ones are capable of winning, but I don't think we're going to get away with playing sloppy matches.
"These fellas are ready to put you away if you don't play on the top of your game."
Selby, who won the Masters title in January, fired in breaks of 71, 67 and a match-clinching 101 to seal his progress.
My all round game is getting better and better and I'm scoring heavier than I've ever done but I know there are still things to work on
Higgins, who beat Selby in the World Championship final in 2007, said: "If Mark carries on like this, I think only Ronnie O'Sullivan is capable of stopping him at the Crucible.
"He's improved so much over the last year, he doesn't look as though he's going to miss, and he's a complete player now."
Selby still believes there is room for improvement in his game, however, adding: "It's nice of John to say those things about me.
"My all round game is getting better and better and I'm scoring heavier than I've ever done but I know there are still things to work on."
The 24-year-old from Leicester will be the favourite when he takes on Hendry on Saturday.
Hendry had to cope with a rare morning start against Lee but made a solid start, including a break of 89 in the second frame, that helped him move clear.
Lee hit back with a break of 96, and took the next frame too, but Hendry was not to be denied and booked his place in his first world-ranking event semi-final since the UK Championship in December 2006.
The seven-times world champion added: "I was not worried when Stephen came back to 3-2 but I was anxious to get an opening and thankfully he gave me one."