Cool Higgins beats Allen in thriller

Scotland's John Higgins survives a thrilling semi-final to claim a 17-13 victory to reach his sixth BetFred World Championship final.

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Scotland's John Higgins survived a thrilling semi-final to claim a 17-13 victory over Mark Allen and reach his sixth BetFred World Championship final in Sheffield yesterday. Higgins, who was at one stage 13-3 ahead, regained his composure when it mattered most to deny the Irishman from completing what would have been one of the biggest upsets in world championship history.

The grand prix champion dropped the first frame of the final day's play when Allen recorded a break of 106 and the storm clouds hung over Higgins as he closed to 15-12. But Higgins, renowned for his fighting qualities, had a break of 116 to lead by four with five to play and while Allen won the first of those, a yellow to pink clearance carried the former champion to victory in the next. Yet Allen had looked certain to force at least one more frame when Higgins missed an easy black off its spot with his break on 60. The former world amateur champion went back to the table to construct a break of 44 only to miss a simple blue trying to hold for position on the yellow.

It was all over now as Higgins did what he had to do in what was his sixth world championship semi-final. Both players will remember this match and Higgins - looking tired and jaded as his two 13-12 victories in previous rounds finally caught up with him - was no doubt relieved that he is not in action again until 2pm today when the first eight of the 35 frames final will be played. In the other semi-final, Shaun Murphy took a 14-10 lead against Neil Robertson.