Higgins Books Place In Northern Ireland Open Final Against Hometown Hero Allen

John Higgins and Mark Allen came out on top in their semis to book their place in tomorrow's grand final at Waterfront Hall
22:55, 16 Oct 2021

John Higgins and hometown hero Mark Allen will go head-to-head in the Northern Ireland Open final at the Waterfront Hall on Sunday after the pair dispatched of Ricky Walden and Yan Bingtao in their respective semis. Here’s what happened...

John Higgins 6-2 Yan Bingtao

In a repeat of the Masters title decider in January, which saw Yan win his first Triple Crown event, it was Higgins who came out on top. The Wizard of Wishaw put in an awesome performance to come from 2-0 down to book his place in tomorrow’s showpiece, his 52nd ranking event final, winning six straight frames with breaks of 52, 83, 61, 78, 75 and 90 in the process.

The four-time world champion was rocked by the youngster early on, but regained his composure well to secure an emphatic and dominant victory over one of snooker’s stars of the future - and revenge for that defeat in Milton Keynes will have made it all the sweeter.

Mark Allen will have the home support in his favour when these two collide tomorrow, and he’ll need it against the in-form veteran.

Mark Allen 6-3 Ricky Walden

Local lad Mark Allen booked his place in the final and a shot at the £70,000 top prize, beating Ricky Walden 6-3. The man from Belfast had taken a 2-0 lead but was pegged back when Walden levelled with runs of 73 and 80 after potting 10 opening reds and blacks in frame four.

Despite the setback, the 2016 quarter-finalist was a deserving winner. Cheered on by a legion of partisan fans, he won three in a row after the interval and although Walden took frame eight, Allen stayed resolute to round out the match.

"I'm trying not to build it up because then you put more pressure on yourself but to win in front of your home fans would be very, very special," the 35-year-old, who summoned an amazing comeback from 3-0 down to end Judd Trump’s 25-match unbeaten in the quarters, told Eurosport after his win.

"I knew it was a big occasion but I tried to loosen myself up a bit after the interval by going for a few more shots."

Betfred Northern Ireland Open final odds

John Higgins: 4/6

Mark Allen: 6/5

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