Masters 2018: Mark Allen beats John Higgins 6-3 to join Kyren Wilson in final


Allen knocks out Higgins to make Masters final – five best shots
2018 Dafabet Masters
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 14-21 January
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen ensured there will be a first-time winner of the Masters this year by beating John Higgins 6-3 to reach the final.

The 31-year-old faces Kyren Wilson in Sunday’s decider after the Englishman stunned compatriot Judd Trump.

Allen produced breaks of 63 and 90 to go 3-1 ahead, before the two-time champion made 131 to take the fifth.

Allen moved 5-2 up and, though Higgins made another ton, the world number eight clinched victory in the ninth.

Higgins makes 700th career century – in defeat

The two players went into this contest with similar recent records in the Masters, though Allen had won all three of their prior encounters in the invitational event.

Four-time world champion Higgins, 42, made an early dent in Allen’s hopes of making it four on the spin when he took the first frame.

But the Antrim player, whose last major title was the Players Championship in 2016, took the next three including a superb 90 before the break.

There was a momentous moment for Higgins straight after the interval when he made his 700th career century, to take the fifth frame. Only Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan have had more.

Allen, unruffled, re-established his two-frame advantage with a carefully crafted 65 before a brilliant red into the left centre resulted in a 64.

With victory in sight, Higgins, renowned for his doughty spirit during his 26-year career, produced another stunning century to place an element of doubt into the mind of his opponent.

However, Higgins was unable to replicate the feat of Wilson, who earlier fought from 5-2 down to beat Trump.

The Scot was set for another big break in the ninth frame but broke down on 18. Allen took advantage with a long red and finished with a 75 break to secure his spot in Sunday’s final.

Wilson beats Trump to reach first Masters final – five best shots

Allen believes he has the edge on Wilson going into Sunday’s contest, despite neither previously having had experience of a Masters final.

“I’m slightly more experienced on the bigger stage,” said Allen, who reached the 2001 UK final.

“He’s done brilliantly to reach the top 16, but I’m in my 16th or 17th final.”

After finishing his semi-final win with a flourish, Allen says he has no plans to change his cavalier ways.

“I’ll go out and play the way I’ve done all week – I’ll play my shots,” he added.

“It will be about controlling the emotions and the two players in the final are those who have controlled their emotions the best this week.”

Higgins, without a snooker major win since 2011, said his tactical game against Allen was “very poor”.

He added: “I said to him at the end of the match: ‘Just play well.'”

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