International Championship: Mark Allen to face Ricky Walden

Mark Allen
Allen reached his fifth ranking final

Mark Allen held off a superb comeback from Mark Williams to reach the final of the International Championship.

The Northern Ireland player led 5-3 and 7-4 compiling breaks of 92, 105 and 77, before his Welsh opponent made 102 and 86 en route to forcing a decider.

Williams missed the last red in the 17th frame, as Allen cleared to the pink to reach his fifth ranking final.

He will face Ricky Walden in China, after the Englishman thrashed fellow countryman Robert Milkins 9-2.

Allen told "Mark can take a lot of confidence from this event because he hasn't been in the later stages of a tournament for a while, but he has shown why he's a multiple tournament winner.

Williams said: "You could count on the fingers of one hand how many balls Mark missed. It's been a long time since I have played that well in a match. I was a fraction of an inch from getting to the final."

In search of the third
Mark Allen ranking victories: 2012 and 2013 World Open
Ricky Walden ranking victories: 2008 Shanghai Masters and 2012 Wuxi Classic
Far East fact: The finalists have four ranking victories between them and all have come in China

In the other semi-final on Friday, Walden, 31, led Milkins from the start. He has triumphed in both his previous finals, beating Ronnie O'Sullivan to win the 2008 Shanghai Masters and Stuart Bingham at the 2012 Wuxi Classic.

"I kept my foot on the gas and played steady. For a semi-final, I felt as if I was hitting the ball nicely," he said.

Meanwhile, Allen will be relieved to get the opportunity to add to his two ranking victories in the World Open, after coming through a match in which Williams made three centuries.

Allen was easily defeated 10-3 by Stuart Bingham in the Shanghai Masters final earlier this year, but he kept his composure in the last frame as the two players battle for Sunday's £125,000 top prize.

The results also mean that Ali Carter, returning from his battle with cancer, is sure of a place at next week's Dafabet Champion of Champions, as both Allen and Walden have already qualified for the event in Coventry.

Semi-final results

Mark Allen (NI) 9-8 Mark Williams (Wal)

92-0 (92), 79-36 (71), 0-120 (120), 0-135 (135), 72-42 (52), 60-76 (Allen 54, Williams 70), 111-0 (105), 74-36 (55), 77-0 (77), 32-84 (84), 75-4 (67), 46-70, 1-70, 40-102 (102), 73-71, 0-86 (86), 60-46

Ricky Walden (Eng) 9-2 Robert Milkins (Eng)

67-37, 75-4, 0-97 (75), 65-54 (Walden 65, Milkins 53), 12-88 (52), 107-13 (107), 68-11 (54), 59-48, 91-9 (87), 106-7, 84-0 (74)

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