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Carter Makes First Masters Semi-final

Ali Carter emerged victorious in a gruelling clash with John Higgins 6-3 to clinch a place in the last four of the Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace in London.

The Captain is through to his first ever Masters semi-final, where he will do battle with 2015 champion Shaun Murphy.

Carter is taking full advantage of being in the tournament this week, given he is ranked 17th in the world and gained entry at the last moment after world number three Ronnie O’Sullivan pulled out.

Higgins, who has won this tournament on two occasions, will have to wait another year to claim his first Masters title since 2006.

Both players had to dig deep this evening in what proved to be a fragmented encounter. Higgins produced the match’s solitary half century prior to the mid-session, a run of 54. However, it was Carter who took a 3-1 advantage after just under two hours of play.

When they returned the action showed no signs of accelerating, with Carter edging a fiercely contested fifth frame in 38-minutes with a highest break of just 14.

Following that Higgins burst into life. A sublime run of 140, followed up by a contribution of 73 in the next pulled him within a frame at 4-3.

Carter then took a 47-minute eighth to move one from victory at 5-3. He got himself over the line with a break of 72.

“It was very tough. A great match to be involved in, but it was hard out there. The balls went scrappy, there were lots of long frames, but I’m delighted to win,” said Carter. “There is pride of performance, but I was pleased with the way I took the balls in the last frame, so I’m delighted.

“Shaun is a great player. We grew up together as juniors. It will be a fantastic match to be involved in. The venue feels very different this year, it is a lot more intimate and it is like a new tournament. I’m free rolling so I’m just enjoying it and glad to be here.”

Higgins said: “I was very poor tonight. I tried to blag it for a couple of frames by playing quickly. It was a poor game and it wasn’t enjoyable at all.

“I probably dragged Ali down. He was playing decent safety and keeping me tight. My safety was all over the place. It was reminiscent of my game with Yan Bingtao in the quarters of the UK Championship.”