Mark Allen completed the semi-final line-up in the Champion of Champions on Friday after victories over Barry Hawkins and Stephen Maguire at the Ricoh Arena.
The wins extend the Northern Irishman’s unbeaten run to nine matches following his success in last week’s Bulgarian Open.
Allen rode his luck a little in each of his clashes in Coventry but overall is value for his place in the last four, where he’ll take on Shanghai Masters winner Kyren Wilson.
The 29 year-old’s last 16 encounter with Hawkins, which began with the pair trading tons, hinged on a key fourth frame that the latter ought to have taken to lead 3-1.
Instead, the ‘Hawk’ missed a crucial black off the spot to allow Allen in for a reprieve, which he duly took by stealing that frame and winning the next two for a 4-2 triumph.
Earlier in the day Maguire continued the trend of opening round upsets this week by putting in the best performance of his season to oust world no.1 Mark Selby 4-1.
This got many people on Twitter excited about the prospect of a return to form for the Scot but those hopes were inevitably and short-lived.
It has to be said that Maguire doesn’t cut a particularly major force in the sport these days, which is not to say that he wont again sometime in the future, but his consistency and general level of play is very poor for someone of his ability and status.
Maguire never got going in the last eight, trailed 4-0 at the interval, and although he avoided the whitewash he never really looked like he was going to force his way back into contention.
Allen didn’t play brilliantly but he didn’t need to and a 104 century sealed a 6-2 victory.
Indeed, Allen is another player who struggles with consistency but right throughout his career he has been a notably successful player in streaks.
When he does manage to win a title he tends to surround it with other solid runners-up or semi-final performances.
He’ll start favourite in his last four tie with Wilson while Neil Robertson and Joe Perry do battle in the other play-off for the final.
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