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Robertson and Allen in Champion of Champions Final

Neil Robertson and Mark Allen will contest the Champion of Champions final in Coventry after safely negotiating their last four ties on Saturday.

Allen and Robertson met each other in each Masters from 2011 to 2014 - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
Allen and Robertson met each other in each edition of the Masters from 2011 to 2014 – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Australia’s Robertson was made to work hard in his clash with close pal Joe Perry, but managed to hold off the Englishman for a 6-4 triumph.

Robertson scored well in patches but was perhaps fortunate that his challenger didn’t take fuller advantage of the array of mundane errors that somewhat tainted his performance.

A superb 144 clearance in the fourth frame was the highlight, though, reminding everyone of his prowess when in among the balls.

Allen, meanwhile, lost the opening frame in his bout with Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson but reeled off the following four frames to stamp his authority on the tie.

Wilson battled back gamely to trail by only one but Allen took the important eighth frame before an 88 sealed his place in the final.

It continues a remarkable week for the Northern Irishman, who only earned his invitation to compete at the Ricoh Arena last week after capturing the Bulgarian Open title in Sofia.

Allen is now on a 10-match winning streak and, although Robertson will probably begin the final as the slight favourite, the 29 year-old is clearly riding a wave of confidence.

The pair have met on many occasions down through the years, in particular enjoying a succession of high-profile encounters in the Masters.

Robertson has the upper hand in terms of their head-to-head record and did notably overcome the Antrim potter in the longer format World Championship last year.

Sunday’s showdown will be the best of 19 frames played over the normal two sessions and it is important for Allen that he begins well.

Despite the fact that Allen has regularly featured in, and won, many finals throughout the last three years, only one of his triumphs was in the UK – the Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup in 2013.

Victory for the Antrim native would mark the first time that the former UK Championship runner-up’s talent had been fully justified to the traditional market for the sport.

Of course, Robertson’s credentials in the UK need no introduction, with the Triple Crown collection of World, UK and Masters trophies already to his name.

That said, the Melbourne man will hope to eradicate the lapses in concentration which led to some unexpected misses in his match with Perry.

Either way it promises to be an enthralling match-up between two of the game’s most watchable competitors.

There is sure to be a packed house at the venue, as there has been for most of the tournament, and hopefully they will be treated to a cracker.

For viewers at home, you can watch the final in its entirety on ITV4, with the first session starting at 1pm and the evening’s play beginning at 7pm.



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the World Snooker Championship – won by Mark Selby.

1. Judd Trump
2. Mark Selby
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
4. Neil Robertson
5. Shaun Murphy
6. Kyren Wilson
7. John Higgins
8. Ding Junhui
9. Stephen Maguire
10. Yan Bingtao
11. Mark Williams
12. Mark Allen
13. Barry Hawkins
14. Jack Lisowski
15. Stuart Bingham
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy