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Mark Allen denies John Higgins to seal Champion of Champions final spot

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Mark Allen v John Higgins live stream | Champion of Champions 2023 Semi-Final preview

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Judd Trump v Mark Allen live stream | Champion of Champions 2023 final preview

Allen is through to his third Champion of Champions final (Credit: Matchroom Sport)

Mark Allen will play Judd Trump in the 2023 Champion of Champions final following a 6-2 victory over John Higgins on Saturday.

The 2020 champion is through to his third final at the popular invitational event, having also been runner-up to Neil Robertson in 2015.

Allen hit a top break of 102 as he reeled off four successive frames from 2-2 to run out a comfortable winner over Higgins.

The world number four subsequently set up a mouth-watering final with fellow left-hander Trump, who he will do battle with to become only the third multiple winner of this tournament after Robertson (two) and Ronnie O’Sullivan (four).

“I’m excited to be playing Judd, he’s the best in the world at the moment, but I have a good record against him,” Allen told Matchroom Sport.

“I am going to enjoy it, I didn’t come here to finish second, and I will have to play really well to beat Judd. But I know I can beat him – and so does he.

“If you had told me three or four weeks ago I’d be in this position, I would have laughed because I was in a bad place. But I have been working hard on the right things and my confidence has come back.”

Higgins, who lifted the trophy in 2016, was also looking to reach his third Champion of Champions final, and made a fine start with a break of 65 drawing first blood.

Allen responded with an attempt at a 147, breaking down on 73 after missing a tricky 10th black. But that and a 91 clearance in the following frame were enough to turn the match on its head.

However, the Pistol squandered a great chance for 3-1 after missing a black to the corner at 45-0 in frame four. Higgins, who dropped just a single frame on his way to winning Group 1 on Wednesday, cleared with 68 to level things up at the interval.

Nevertheless, Allen edged his nose back in front after winning the tactical battle in frame five. He then punished two misses from his opponent in as many frames, with a wonderful 102 clearance and run of 49 moving him to the brink of victory.

The world number four required no second invitation, crunching in a long red before sprinting over the line with a swift 77.

“We both looked really sharp [at the start of the match],” Allen added. “I missed one ball in frame four but, other than that, there wasn’t anything missed in those four frames – it was high-quality stuff.

“As the match went on, John started to make a few errors – some forced and some not – and I stayed at the same level as I was at the early stage of the match.

“That’s the level you have to be at to beat someone like John. Any win against John is a good win, so I’ll take the positives from that.”