Mark Allen battled into the Northern Ireland Open final after winning a Jekyll and Hyde encounter with Ricky Walden in Belfast.
The home favourite came through 6-3 – but it was a far tougher match than the scoreline suggested, with the momentum finally swinging in his direction after a turgid 52-minute sixth frame.
Allen will face either John Higgins or Yan Bingtao in Sunday’s final.
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The Pistol started brightly as a break of 61 helped him into a 2-0 lead, but Walden bounced back with a 73 and 80 to draw level at the interval. Despite finishing the stronger, Walden was left ruing a missed maximum opportunity as he broke down with five reds remaining.

‘Your money’s safe!’ – Ricky Walden fails to join Mark Allen in 147 club

Allen regained the lead upon the resumption before the bizarre sixth frame saw both players marry brilliant safety exchanges with disastrous potting.
The Waterfront Hall faithful went 10 minutes without seeing a pot at the lowest point, but Allen belatedly pinched the frame to move 4-2 ahead.
It seemed to spark Allen into life. A 133 total clearance swiftly followed as he moved within one of victory – the 35-year-old fizzing in the final black and sending the cue ball bouncing around the table to rapturous applause from a crowd who would have been forgiven for ducking out after the misery before.
Walden was handed a lifeline in the next frame when Allen went in-off after a fine long red, cutting the deficit back to two with a knock of 59, but Allen duly swept home a 73 in the next to secure victory.
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