There's been an air of inevitability about Ronnie O'Sullivan's charge to the European Masters final - with imperious snooker placing him on the cusp of a record-extending 39th ranking title at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Barely tested and in control throughout, the Rocket has glided to this his 60th ranking event final scoring nine centuries and 18 more breaks over 50 in his six matches this week.
He notched up a comfortable 6-2 semi-final win last night against world number 26 Liang Wenbo, who is the highest ranked player he has faced in the tournament.
O'Sullivan has been in all-out cruise control and is unsurprisingly a heavy favourite to land the trophy.
Daring to dream
Aiming to deny him is 21-year old and arguably the most improved player on tour this season, Fan Zhengyi who began the campaign facing the very real prospect of relegation from the professional tour but has come of age since the turn of the year.
He reached his maiden ranking event quarter-final at the recent German Masters and has now arrived in his first ever final against the sport's greatest ever.
Fan's remarkable run continues a growing trend of emerging young Chinese talents on the circuit. In a season where Zhao Xintong has won his first titles and Yan Bingtao has continued to establish himself at the top of the game, Fan has the opportunity to become the fifth Chinese player to win a ranking title.
O'Sullivan has the firepower
Fan can take inspiration from the heroics of Jordan Brown in last year's Welsh Open who defied the odds to beat O'Sullivan in a major final as a similar plucky underdog.
O'Sullivan though has the superior scoring firepower to avoid history repeating itself. The Rocket looks in the mood to get the job done this week and looks a good price of 11/10 to win the match with a handicap of -4.5 frames.
You can also back the Rocket to make +2.5 centuries at 6/5.
Eyes on seven
O'Sullivan has taken resounding advantage of his stalling rivals at the top of the rankings and found great form.
Victory here would mark his second title of the season and perhaps surprisingly for a player so well decorated, add a new trophy to his CV. As a beaten finalists back in 2016, the BetVictor European Masters is a rare title that has evaded O'Sullivan throughout his career.
Naturally when the Rocket - or any top player in fact - hits form at this time of year the narrative quickly switches to Sheffield with the all-important World Championship emerging on the horizon.
While O'Sullivan will be swift to dismiss talk of a seventh and record-equalling world title at the Crucible this year, his focus and mental fortitude suggest he is in the right place to have a good crack.
Judd Trump and Mark Selby look a way off their best right now and Neil Robertson famously underperforms in the biggest event of the season. Maybe, just maybe all signs are pointing towards O'Sullivan finally levelling up with Hendry in what is the only record left for him to match in the sport.