Mark Allen and John Higgins go head to head on Saturday for a place in the 2023 Champion of Champions final.
It promises to be a mouth-watering battle between two former champions in the first of the semi-finals at this year’s tournament.
Their most recent encounter in the 2021 Northern Ireland Open final was an absolute thriller that went the distance, with home favourite Allen prevailing a narrow 9-8 winner to delight the Belfast crowd.
Both players were in dominant form in their respective groups earlier this week.
Allen, who lifted this trophy in 2020, made three centuries as he overcame Jimmy White 4-1 and Ali Carter 6-2 to win Group 4 and advance to his sixth semi-final in nine appearances at the prestigious invitational event.
It has been a timely upturn in fortunes for the 2022-23 WST Player of the Season, who had struggled to build on that momentum this term – a run to the Wuhan Open quarter-finals representing his only venture beyond the last 32 of any event.
Meanwhile, Higgins dropped just a single frame in Group 1, whitewashing debutant Chris Wakelin before sweeping Ding Junhui aside 6-1 with breaks of 96, 93, 86, 83, 82 and 80 along the way.
The four-time World champion is now set for his third semi-final of the campaign, having also reached this stage at the European Masters and English Open.
On both occasions, he was edged out in a deciding frame by Judd Trump – losing 6-5 from 5-2 up in the latter – and will be desperate to avoid a repeat of that here.
The match gets under way at 7pm GMT on Saturday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames at the Bolton Whites Hotel.
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