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Allen and Lee for World Open

Mark Allen will bid for his first ranking title after coming from three behind with four to play to beat Mark Selby 6-5 in the World Open semi-finals.

His opponent in Hainan will be Stephen Lee, who continues his resurgence by reaching his first ranking event final in six years after a comfortable 6-2 outcome over Robert Milkins.

In a high quality affair, world number one Selby looked to be in complete control when he amassed a 5-2 advantage with the aid of a couple of centuries.

However, the Leicester man never even had a chance to find that elusive winning frame as Allen fired in four sizeable breaks on the trot to reach his second final of the season.

The manner in which the Northern Irishman compiled his match clinching 112 suggests that he is more than ready to break the duck of not having lifted any major silverware in his career to date.

Of course, the outspoken 26 year-old broke one particular jinx when he reached the final of the UK Championship last December having been renowned as a player who kept falling short at the last four stage.

In that final in York he came very close to denying Judd Trump the headlines and that experience will surely stand him in good stead tomorrow.

If he were to emerge victorious it could instil a new lease of life into Allen, who has the ability and swagger to be a constant force in the higher echelons of the game.

Indeed, there is a distinct possibility that the majority of trophies over the next ten or so years will be shared between himself, Trump and China’s Ding Junhui.

That said, despite having been away from the pinnacle of the sport in recent years, Allen’s opponent in the World Open final is a proven champion by his own right.

A four-time ranking event winner, Lee has recaptured the form and, more importantly, the confidence that brought him to the heights of world number five during the last decade.

And there is no denying how much the 37 year-old deserves to be where he is.

Lee is an example of someone who has knuckled down since the Barry Hearn takeover era began two years ago and is now justly reaping the rewards.

Now firmly back in the elite bracket in the world rankings, Lee has been able to focus on getting to the business end of events – something that in recent times he has been achieving aplenty.

Semi-finals in Germany, last eight in Wales where he was a green ball and a notably inappropriate mobile phone ringtone away from another semi-final, and now a chance for glory in China ensures that the silky potter should not be dealt with lightly.

Allen will more than likely start as favourite tomorrow but, while Lee will undoubtedly be nervous too, the latter should hold the cards in terms of knowing how to deal with the occasion.

Either way, there promises to be an array of big breaks and attacking snooker between two very exciting players.

The full draw and list of results can be viewed by clicking here.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.

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