Mark Allen cruised through to the Champion of Champions semi-finals following a commanding 6-2 victory over Ali Carter on Monday.
The Pistol also defeated Jimmy White 4-1 earlier in the day as he won Group 4 to secure his sixth venture into the last four of this event in nine appearances.
WST’s player of the 2022-23 season after winning the Northern Ireland Open, UK Championship and World Grand Prix, Allen arrived at the Bolton Whites Hotel having struggled to build on that momentum this term.
But the world number four looked solid on the opening day, hitting three centuries along the way and a further four breaks over 70.
“Things were much better this evening after an edgy start against Jimmy earlier,” he told ITV. “I missed a few in that first frame but, after that, I feel like I played all right.
“I got a bit of run here and there, which you need. I feel like that’s what’s been going against me so far this season. I’ve not played my best, but any bit of luck went against me. But I got enough there.
“I need to try and play like I did today more consistently. I feel like I’ve turned a corner in the last couple of weeks, but I’m still not quite where I want to be. If I keep winning like that against Ali – one of the form players of the season – then I’m going in the right direction.”
Allen recovered from losing the opening frame against World Seniors champion White on the final black, with breaks of 76, 84 and 108 eventually sealing a commanding win.
The Pistol built on that momentum in the group final against Carter, a superb total clearance of 135 drawing first blood.
Carter, who edged out Mark Selby 4-3 in a hard-fought group semi-final, had a chance to level, but missed the green and subsequently fell 3-0 behind after Allen punished a missed black off its spot with a swift clearance of 100.
The Captain stopped the rot with runs of 59 and 53 to get his first frame on the board.
Allen responded after the interval with 70 and moved to the brink of victory by clearing after Carter had been unfortunate to leave the final red over the corner pocket from his attempted double to the left centre.
The reigning German Masters champion kept his faint hopes alive with a magnificent 143 total clearance. However, it proved a mere consolation as a swift run of 98 in the following frame saw Allen over the line.
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Champion of Champions 2023 | Day One Results
Monday November 13
Mark Allen 4-1 Jimmy White
Mark Selby 3-4 Ali Carter
Mark Allen 6-2 Ali Carter