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Mark Williams withstands Mark Allen rally to reach Tour Championship final

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Williams was a 10-5 winner on Saturday

Mark Williams will play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the 2024 Tour Championship final following a commanding 10-5 victory over Mark Allen on Saturday.

The Welshman dominated the battle of the Marks at Manchester Central, hitting breaks of 140, 112, 105 and 99 as he soared into a 9-0 advantage.

Allen averted the whitewash and threatened an unlikely comeback as he closed the gap to 9-5.

However, Williams eventually got the job done as he booked his place in a 41st career ranking final, where O’Sullivan awaits on Sunday.

“At 9-0, you can’t lose really and then an hour later, it’s 9-5!” he told ITV Sport.

“If I’d let him in, he was going to make another one-visit frame, so that would break was as good as any I had in the whole match.

“I’ve been playing similar to that all season. Some of the matches I’ve lost, people have played unbelievable against me or beaten me in a deciding frame. It’s only people playing really, really well that are beating me.

“If I had to pick, I’d definitely choose to play O’Sullivan. He’s the best player by a mile, but I’m not afraid to play him. I’m just going to enjoy it, there’s going to be a packed crowd. I absolutely can’t wait.”

Williams had lost eight of his nine previous encounters with Allen – outside the Championship League and Shoot Out – but took early control with runs of 31 and 57 giving him the opening frame, before a 46 clearance saw him snatch the second on the blue.

The three-time World champion continued to dominate with breaks of 99, 105 and 112 putting him 5-0 to the good.

Allen, who has gone on to win the respective tournament following each of his last three victories over Williams, threatened to steal the sixth frame from 66-0 down, but a missed blue on 51 enabled his opponent to move further clear.

Williams then took the next two frames to complete the session whitewash and create Tour Championship history, as he became the first player to win eight successive frames at the event.

The last televised 10-0 whitewash was inflicted by Shaun Murphy on Luo Honghao at the 2019 World Championship. The possibility of ending that wait looked serious when the reigning British Open champion commenced the evening session with a sublime 140 total clearance.

Although, Allen swiftly averted that possibility with a timely 65 break getting his first frame on the board, and inspiring a wonderful reception from the Manchester crowd.

To his credit, the Pistol maintained discipline and conceded just 36 points in the next four frames, as runs of 53, 79, 56 and 69 reduced the deficit to 9-5.

However, it proved a false dawn. With the next genuine chance that fell his way, Williams got the job done with a break of 75 seeing him over the line.

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