Home favourite Mark Allen ended reigning champion Judd Trump’s 25-match winning streak at the Northern Ireland Open with a stunning fightback from 3-0 down to advance to the semi-finals on Friday.
It was a day of great comebacks at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, with John Higgins and Ricky Walden also overturning early deficits to progress to the last four.
Allen was looking to advance to that stage of his home competition for the first time during a week in which he has also compiled the second maximum break of his career.
However, he trailed 3-0 as three-time defending champion Trump came flying out of the blocks with breaks of 100 and 91, before clearing with 43 to snatch a tight third frame on the pink.
Seeking a fourth successive title, the Ace looked good for 4-0 but missed frame ball, allowing Allen to clear and reduce the arrears on the black.
The Pistol also took the next frame on the final black, having recovered from 61-0 down on this occasion, before dominating the sixth to level at 3-3.
Allen then completed the turnaround with a stunning total clearance of 128, while a fifth frame in succession sealed a remarkable victory – his fourth in six meetings with Trump.
The Antrim ace will play Walden, who recovered from 3-1 down to beat Shaun Murphy 5-4.
Despite watching the Magician compile centuries of 106 and 102, the three-time ranking event winner hit back with runs of 98, 84 and 70 to turn the contest on its head.
Murphy stopped the rot with 82 to force a decider, but a wonderful 91 clearance sent Walden into his first ranking event semi-final since the 2016 China Open.
Elsewhere, four-time World champion Higgins won five out of six frames from 2-0 down to defeat the in-form David Gilbert 5-3.
Championship League winner Gilbert opened with breaks of 79 and 69, but runs of 81, 64 and 67 helped the Scotsman turn things around and advance to the 76th ranking event semi-final of his career.
There, he will face Yan Bingtao in a repeat of this year’s Masters final, which the Chinese ace won 10-8.
Runner-up to Mark Williams here four years ago, Yan’s quest to go one better continued with a commanding 5-0 whitewash of world number 109 Mitchell Mann, who was appearing in his first ranking event quarter-final since the 2017 Paul Hunter Classic.
Northern Ireland Open 2021 Results
Friday October 15
Judd Trump 3-5 Mark Allen
Shaun Murphy 4-5 Ricky Walden
Yan Bingtao 5-0 Mitchell Mann
John Higgins 5-3 David Gilbert