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Allen edges out Williams to reach Northern Ireland Open semis

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Mark Williams v Mark Allen live stream | Northern Ireland Open 2022 preview

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Anthony McGill v Zhou Yuelong live stream | Northern Ireland Open 2022 preview

Allen edged out Williams on Friday (Photo by George Wood/PA Images)

Mark Allen will play Neil Robertson in the Northern Ireland Open semi-finals after edging out Mark Williams on Friday.

The reigning champion delighted the home crowd as he scraped past Williams in a deciding frame to remain on course for a successful title defence at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

Allen set up a showdown with Robertson, who overcame Mark Selby 5-2, while Anthony McGill and Zhou Yuelong completed the last-four line-up following victories over Lyu Haotian and David Gilbert respectively.

Champion here in 2017, Williams made a strong start in the battle of the Marks as he established a 2-0 lead with breaks of 62 and 70 along the way.

But the Pistol came back firing with runs of 77 and 74 as he reeled off the next four frames to close in on the semi-finals.

The three-time World champion rallied to force a decider, but Allen was not to be denied as he extended his winning streak in Belfast to 12 matches.

His reward is a clash with another left-hander in Robertson, who remained on course to complete the Home Nations grand slam after beating Selby for the 12th time in 13 meetings.

Despite opening with 73, the Australian fell 2-1 behind with the Jester enjoying a top run of 95 as he bid to end a run of five successive defeats in the fixture.

But Robertson regained control with breaks of 97 and 84, while he withstood his opponent recovering from needing a snooker in frame six to move one away from victory, which he secured with contributions of 73 and 53.

Elsewhere, McGill is through to his third Home Nations semi-final after a 5-3 win over world number 38 Haotian.

The Glasgow Gladiator, who recovered from 3-1 down to defeat Yan Bingtao in the last 32, trailed 2-0, but won five of the next six frames with breaks of 112, 95 and 85 on the way to sealing his last-four berth.

There he will play Zhou, who overturned a 4-2 deficit against Gilbert to earn his first ranking semi-final since the 2020 UK Championship.

Following a tight opening four frames – two of which were snatched on the final black – former Championship League winner Gilbert dominated the next two with breaks of 71 and 84.

However, he was unable to convert subsequent opportunities and Zhou recovered with runs of 63 and 54 to set up a decider, in which the two-time ranking finalist produced a sublime 130 clearance to prevail.

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Northern Ireland Open 2022 Schedule

Friday October 21

Quarter-Finals

David Gilbert 4-5 Zhou Yuelong
Neil Robertson 5-2 Mark Selby
Mark Allen 5-4 Mark Williams
Lyu Haotian 3-5 Anthony McGill