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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Allen: Players Championship 2019 preview - Rocket and Pistol collide in Preston

O'Sullivan and Allen get set for a scintillating Semi-Final (credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan aims to book his place in a second successive Players Championship final at the expense of 2016 champion Mark Allen in Preston on Saturday.

O'Sullivan is bidding to become the first player ever to successfully retain this trophy, having claimed glory in Llandudno 12 months ago.

He began his title defence with a 6-4 win over Barry Hawkins before going on to defeat his great rival John Higgins by the same scoreline on Friday.

O'Sullivan, who has also picked up the Shanghai Masters Champion of Champions and UK Championship titles this term, is closing in on an historic 1,000 career centuries, needing just three more to complete the feat.

He revealed following his Quarter-Final victory that he plans to make the 1,000th in Shanghai later this year, but it remains to be seen if he can resist the temptation to potentially surpass the landmark this weekend.

The Rocket now comes up against the number one seed and one of the stand-out performers of the season who is looking to reach his third ranking final since November.

Allen, the reigning Scottish Open and International Champion, will undoubtedly have revenge on his mind following his 10-6 defeat to O'Sullivan in December's UK Championship final.

The Antrim ace has seen off Stephen Maguire 6-2 and Stuart Bingham 6-4 to book his place in the Semi-Finals - a run which could kick-start a crucial run-in towards the World Championship after an indifferent start to 2019.

The duo have met eight times over the past decade, with O'Sullivan prevailing on five occasions, though 'The Pistol' did pull off a 6-1 rout in the opening round of the 2018 Masters.

Their latest encounter gets underway from 7pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames.

Welsh Open champion Neil Robertson will await the winner in Sunday's final.



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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Allen: Players Championship 2019 preview - Rocket and Pistol collide in Preston

Ronnie O’Sullivan aims to book his place in a second successive Players Championship final at the expense of 2016 champion Mark Allen in Preston on Saturday.

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