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History-maker Ali Carter sets up Ronnie O’Sullivan showdown in Masters final

Jonathan Davies in The Masters

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Carter hit three centuries in as many frames on Saturday (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Ali Carter made history as he defeated Mark Allen 6-3 to set up a Masters final showdown with Ronnie O’Sullivan on Sunday.

The Captain hit three centuries in three frames – becoming the first player in history to do so at this event – to reach his second showpiece in as many appearances.

Allen, who made the second maximum break of the week on the way before scraping past Mark Selby in a late Friday night thriller, controlled the opening frame to draw first blood.

But Carter, who dethroned reigning champion Judd Trump in the quarter-finals, responded with 71, before breaks of 100, 101 and 105 put him well in command at 4-1.

Allen had overturned that deficit against Selby, and the Pistol came back firing with 101 before a 39 clearance snatched frame seven on the black after his opponent missed the penultimate red on 55 when looking good for 5-2.

Nevertheless, runs of 43 and 36 put Carter back in control, and he eventually took a lengthy and scrappy ninth frame on the pink to seal victory.

“I really got it going in the middle [of the match], I felt really good,” he said.

“Mark showed what a great player he is, making a good ton himself. I felt like the balls were just turning a little bit, but I held myself together well. To run out a winner there, I’m delighted.

“I’m competing well. I’m consistently playing at a high level. If I can do that tomorrow, we’ll see what happens.”

That sets up a mouth-watering final showdown with old adversary O’Sullivan, who is going for a record-equalling eighth title and has won 17 of their 18 previous meetings. But Carter is not shying away from the task in hand.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he added. “It’s going to be a long day, I’m relishing the challenge.

“He’s the greatest of all time. I’ve got the utmost respect for him as a snooker player. But what a great challenge to be playing him here [at Alexandra Palace]. I’m going to give it my best shot.”

Earlier in the day, the Rocket booked his place in a 14th Masters final with a commanding 6-2 win over Shaun Murphy.

The Magician had a chance to steal the opening frame, but missed the green, while a fluked penultimate red in the following frame enabled O’Sullivan to go 2-0 in front.

Murphy won two of the next three frames with breaks of 131 and 100, but the seven-time champion was not to be denied with contributions of 90, 71 and 62 getting him over the line.

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Masters Snooker 2024 Semi-Final Results

Saturday January 13

Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Shaun Murphy

Ali Carter 6-3 Mark Allen

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