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John Higgins v Mark Allen: Masters Snooker 2018 preview - Pistol aims to shoot down The Wizard in Ally Pally Semi-Final

Allen is making his third appearance in the Masters semi-finals (credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Mark Allen is aiming to reach his first Masters final when he goes head-to-head with John Higgins in the Last Four at the Alexandra Palace on Saturday evening.

The Pistol is making his third appearance in the semi-finals of snooker’s most prestigious invitational event, having also reached this stage in 2011 and 2015.

However, he is now looking to make it third time lucky by reaching the showpiece and is certainly in the form to do so.

Allen opened the tournament with breaks of 135 and 120 in his 6-3 victory over debutant Luca Brecel, but was certainly regarded as the underdog going into his quarter-final clash with reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Nevertheless, he upset the odds in the most spectacular fashion; winning six frames in a row after losing the opener to wrap up an emphatic 6-1 rout over the seven-time winner.

And, if Masters history is anything to go by, Allen will certainly not be intimidated by the prospect of facing Higgins. After all, he has won each of the three previous meetings between the players in this event.

Higgins is appearing in the Last Four for the first time since 2012 (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)
Higgins will be desperate to put an end to that unwanted run in what is his eighth appearance in the Masters semi-finals, and first since 2012.

The two-time champion was in trouble at 4-2 down against compatriot Anthony McGill in the opening round of this year’s event, but won the last four frames to eventually prevail a 6-4 victor.

However, he enjoyed a much smoother passage in the quarter-finals, as a top break of 113 and four further runs over 50 put Ryan Day to the sword 6-1.

Having been written off in recent years, Higgins has answered the critics by showing he is not finished yet by any means having reached the World Championship final last May and taken his ranking event tally to 29 titles.

He would love to continue his resurgence at the Ally Pally, where he is just two more wins away from becoming only the seventh player to complete a hat-trick of Masters titles.

Either Judd Trump or Kyren Wilson awaits the winner of this match in the final of the 2018 Masters.

The match gets underway at 7pm GMT on Saturday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames at the Alexandra Palace.


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John Higgins v Mark Allen: Masters Snooker 2018 preview - Pistol aims to shoot down The Wizard in Ally Pally Semi-Final

Mark Allen is aiming to reach his first Masters final when he goes head-to-head with John Higgins in the Last Four at the Alexandra Palace on Saturday evening.

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