Mark Allen recovered a 3-0 deficit to beat Stuart Bingham 6-4 and reach the semi-finals of the Coral Players Championship in Preston.
Allen topped this season’s money list with £364,000 coming into this week and he is now guaranteed at least another £30,000 having made it to the last four at the Guild Hall. He will face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins on Saturday evening (limited number of tickets still available, for details click here).
Last month at the Coral World Grand Prix, Allen rashly conceded his match against Ali Carter when he was 3-1 down with 11 reds still on the table in the fifth frame. He admitted he had lost his appetite for snooker, but he has since regained his enthusiasm and tonight he showed determination in abundance as he fought back after a slow start.
Bingham raced into a 3-0 lead with top breaks of 71 and 76, before Allen hit back to take four frames in a row with top runs of 72, 108 and 54. Frame eight also looked like going Allen’s way until he ran out of position on 51 with two reds left, and Bingham later cleared for 4-4. Northern Ireland’s Allen regained the lead by taking frame nine with breaks of 35 and 29, then clinched victory in the next with a 75.
It turned out to be a good night for Allen’s fans
“I made a good break in the fourth frame which settled me down,” said 33-year-old Allen. “Stuart was on top before that, then after the interval it turned. Once I got back to 3-2 it was game on. I felt as if I played better than I have done in the last couple of tournaments, though there is still much improve on. I’m happy to win because Stuart is a very tough competitor.
“I have been fighting myself over the last few months. With a lot of chat on the phone to Terry (Griffiths) in the last week or two, I am in a better place now. I am giving it my all. I feel I am slowly coming into form and if I can keep improving match by match then I will be excited about my chances next month in Sheffield.
“No matter whether it’s Ronnie or John next, I know I am going to have to perform. They are two of the best three of all time in my opinion, along with Stephen Hendry. It will be a classic between those two tomorrow.”