Scottish Open - Live Stream

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Mark Allen v Zhou Yuelong live stream | Northern Ireland Open 2022 preview

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Mark Allen roars past Neil Robertson to reach Northern Ireland Open final

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Home favourite Mark Allen claims back-to-back Belfast titles

Allen is looking to successfully defend his Belfast crown (Karl W Newton/Sport Press Photo via ZUMA Press)

Mark Allen and Zhou Yuelong go head to head for the Northern Ireland Open crown at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Sunday.

The last two players standing will do battle over the best of 17 frames for the Alex Higgins trophy, as well as the £80,000 top prize and the final remaining spot in this season’s Champion of Champions.

Home favourite Allen is just one win away from completing a successful title defence, while Zhou is targeting his maiden ranking silverware.

Currently level with Ken Doherty on six titles, Allen will become the outright most successful Irish player in ranking event history should he prevail today.

The winner of the 2018 Scottish Open, the Pistol would also be only the fourth player to win three or more Home Nations crowns – after Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby.

Allen came through deciding-frame finishes against Andy Lee and Mark Williams, before hitting back-to-back centuries on the way to a commanding 6-2 victory over Robertson in the semi-finals.

That secured a second successive ranking showpiece for the rejuvenated world number 10, who was runner-up to Ryan Day at the British Open earlier this month.

Standing in his way is Zhou, who is fresh from hitting four centuries in his 6-4 win over Anthony McGill on Saturday.

That took the world number 23’s tally for the season to 12; already surpassing his total of 10 for the entire 2021-22 campaign.

Zhou has also defeated the likes of Shaun Murphy and Robert Milkins, as well as overturning a 4-2 deficit to edge out David Gilbert in the quarter-finals.

The 24-year-old is now looking to become the sixth different Chinese ranking event winner after Ding Junhui, Liang Wenbo, Yan Bingtao, Zhao Xintong and Fan Zhengyi.

And he will be hoping for better fortunes in his third ranking final having suffered a humiliating 9-0 whitewash at the hands of Robertson in the 2020 European Masters showpiece, while he scored just a single point in his defeat by Michael Holt in the following month’s Shoot Out.

Play gets underway at 1pm BST with the opening eight frames, before a maximum of nine commence from 7pm when the winner will be crowned at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

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