Mark Allen held on to beat Mark Selby 5-3 in a marathon quarter-final match at the British Open.
Four-time world champion Selby was the biggest name left in the draw after a series of high-profile exits; Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, John Higgins and Mark Williams were among those to bow out early.
But 2018 Masters champion Allen came into the last eight on the back of a tense 4-3 win over Trump and knowing that his head-to-head record with Selby was dead level at seven wins apiece.
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Selby laid down an early marker with a blistering start, producing a break of 123 to take the opening frame and claim his fifth century of the tournament. But the momentum suddenly swung in Allen’s favour as he took the next three frames in a row to stun his rival.
The second frame began with the two locked in a safety battle before Selby forced an error from Allen and was in among the balls. But a tricky long red eluded Selby and Allen took his chance, eking out a 15 point lead before another Selby miss saw Allen clean up the colours to equalise.
A missed red from Selby early in the third gave Allen a chance to take the lead, and he took it in style with an incredible clearance of 143, his opponent acknowledging a near-perfect break in which Allen was always in position.
With all the momentum, the northern Irishman fought his way back from 25 points down in the fourth to reel off a classy run of 75 to go one within victory.
But the famously stubborn Selby was not beaten yet. Allen his the jaws with a red to middle pocket and Selby took his first chance to pull a frame back with a fine break of 103 including a majestic red to bottom right to settle the nerves.
Allen had the match within his grasp after going 44-1 up in the sixth frame but, with the remaining reds tied up, left Selby with a white on the cushion. Ten minutes without a pot followed before Selby found a red to bottom left to kickstart a run of 42. Locked neck and neck at 44 each, Allen blundered the safety and Selby made no mistake, restoring parity at 3-3 after drilling in the remaining reds.
Neck and neck after three hours, and Allen could only manage a run of 12 on his first visit in the seventh frame. Selby bounced back with a six but in the tightest of frames neither took risks on long pots or awkward angles.
Selby emerged from the stalemate after rolling in a tough red and went 39 ahead with 51 remaining after missing a routine green.
In need of every colour, a steal looked unlikely, but Allen produced a priceless clearance to move 4-3 ahead against a stunned Selby who had been well in control.
And the Englishman could not recover, failing even to pot another ball following that missed green as Allen produced a style break of 126 for a spot in the semi-finals.
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