Mark Allen battles into final four


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Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen moved a step closer to winning back-to-back titles on the professional tour after reaching the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions.

The 32-year-old showed he was back to his best last week after he beat Australia’s Neil Robertson in the final of the International Championship.

Allen also dispatched of Matthew Stevens, Allister Carter, Alfie Burden, Hossein Vafaei and Liam Highfield on his way to victory.

He seems to have carried that form into the Champion of Champions after beating Barry Hawkins 4-2 before overcoming Robertson for the second time in a week.

Allen set the tone by scoring a break of 140 before he then fired further breaks of 102, 86 and 76. He then cruised past Robertson thanks to scores of 42, 119, 102, 123, 98 and 75.

Next up is Kyren Wilson and Allen admits he fancies his chances this weekend.

He told World Snooker: “The first frame was scrappy, but after that I didn’t really put a foot wrong.

“I scored well, as I have been doing for a while now. I limited Neil to a few half chances.

I had more confidence than Neil going into the match having won the final last Sunday, but he has more than enough experience to know how to deal with that.

To beat a player of Neil’s class twice in a row, and the way I have done in, stands me in good stead.

“I’m not getting carried away as I’ve still got two very tough matches to get through if I’m going to win this tournament. But I quietly fancy my chances.

I always have good matches with Kyren.” Allen is the 1.61 favourite to win this weekend, while Wilson is a 2.25 outsider.

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