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

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Allen edges out Williams to reach Northern Ireland Open semis

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McGill is appearing in his seventh ranking semi-final (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Anthony McGill and Zhou Yuelong go head to head in the first Northern Ireland Open semi-final in Belfast on Saturday

The players ranked 20th and 23rd in the world respectively are just two matches away from becoming the 16th different winner in the Home Nations series, as well as snatching the last remaining place in the lucrative Champion of Champions.

McGill is aiming to make it third time lucky in a Home Nations semi-final, having fallen at this stage of the 2017 English Open and 2021 Scottish Open.

After seeing off Julian Leclercq 4-1, the two-time ranking event winner has overcome a trio of Chinese players this week in Lyu Haotian, Tian Pengfei and Yan Bingtao.

The Glasgow Gladiator recovered from 3-1 down against the latter, before overturning a 62-0 deficit in the decider with a superb counter clearance of 75.

Zhou also produced an inspired turnaround to deny David Gilbert in the quarter-finals, as he hit back from 4-2 down before snatching victory with a magnificent 130 total clearance.

The 2015 World Cup winner is set for his fifth ranking semi-final – and first since the 2020 UK Championship – while it will be his maiden appearance at this stage of a Home Nations tournament.

A former European Masters and Shoot Out runner-up, Zhou has also beaten Robbie McGuigan, Dominic Dale, Shaun Murphy and Robert Milkins to move within two wins of becoming the sixth Chinese ranking event winner after Yan, Ding Junhui, Liang Wenbo, Zhao Xintong and Fan Zhengyi.

A showdown with Neil Robertson or Mark Allen awaits the winner in Sunday’s Northern Ireland Open final.

Play gets underway at 1pm BST on Saturday with the match contested over the best of 11 frames at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.