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Page last updated at 21:34 GMT, Friday, 14 January 2011

Snooker Masters: Mark Allen sees off Neil Robertson

THE MASTERS
Venue: Wembley Arena Date: 9-16 January Coverage: Live action & highlights on BBC Two, Red Button and BBC Sport website; updates and reports on BBC Radio 5 live and online; watch again on iPlayer; full details of BBC coverage

Mark Allen & Neil Robertson shake hands at the end of their match

Allen masters world champ Robertson

By Mark Ashenden
BBC Sport at Wembley

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen produced another shock at the Masters with a 6-4 win over world champion Neil Robertson to reach the semi-finals.

Allen, who beat Ronnie O'Sullivan, flew out of the blocks with breaks of 63 and 69 to lead 2-0, but the Australian hit back to win three successive frames.

Robertson stayed in control with a 71 to lead 4-3 but breaks of 57, 75 and a 69 steered Allen over the line.

Allen will play Hong Kong's Marco Fu, who demolished Peter Ebdon 6-0.

Allen and Fu will contest their semi-final on Saturday from 1300 GMT, with Jamie Cope and Ding Junhui battling in the evening for the other place in Sunday's final.

Fu, ranked 16th and Grand Prix champion in 2007, blitzed the world number 12 in the first session 4-0 with breaks of 91, 80 and 107 blowing away the off-colour Ebdon.

Marco Fu

Fu outclassed Ebdon at Wembley

Ebdon's highest break in the whole match was 39 and the misery continued after the break as Hong Kong's top cueman secured the whitewash in around two hours with a 57 in the sixth frame.

But Friday afternoon's quarter-final was a much tighter affair and it was another phenomenal performance from Allen at Wembley this week after the 24-year-old dumped out former number one O'Sullivan in the first round.

And as well as making his first Masters semi-final, he is the first Northern Irish player to reach the last-four in this tournament since Dennis Taylor 24 years ago.

606: DEBATE

"I can't get carried away but I can take great confidence from that," said Allen on his win.

"If I can beat the world champion and world number two then it just shows where my game is as well - I don't remember an easy ball missed."

Being the only player in the top eight left in the tournament, the pressure was on Robertson and the Melbourne left-hander began in shaky fashion and Allen needed no second invitation to pounce after a sloppy safety.

A 63 from Allen helped him take the opener, before he finally came through a fascinating 29-minute second frame with a 69.

More errors followed for Robertson in the third but a fabulous 10ft red put the flow back into his cueing left-arm and a breathtaking 69 soon followed, which included a doubled red and two cute nudges to release a blue and red off the cushion.

With the early jitters gone, Robertson swiftly levelled the match at 2-2 with a 56 and secured his third frame on the bounce with a cool 50.

Cheered on by his noisy faithful fans from County Antrim, Allen stopped the rot to level the scores again thanks to a steady 46, only to return to his chair and watch his opponent regain the lead with a brilliant 71.

Steve Davies answers your online queries

Davis, Hendry & co answer your snooker queries

Most of the enthralled Wembley audience may have expected Robertson to power on after witnessing the way he sunk an early red with a devastating exhibition of screw from 10 feet, but his early wobbles returned and Allen was not afraid to wrestle back the initiative.

A hard-earned 57 points followed and the baize big-hitters were locked at 4-4. But the best was still to come for Allen as he racked up a run of 75 to sniff victory.

Robertson looked stunned as he continued to remain in his chair with his opponent knocking in a 69 and despite a scrappy battle over the last six reds, it was a grinning Allen who left the packed arena having secured his sixth major semi-final.

"It was close all the way and I was happy with the way I was playing but all credit to Mark," said Robertson.

"He stayed in there and never went away. Every time he got a chance he scored heavily.

"It was a hard fought match and was top standard all the way through."


MASTERS QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS:

Ding Junhui (Chn) 6-2 Graeme Dott (Sco)

Mark King (Eng) 1-6 Jamie Cope (Eng)

Mark Allen (NI) 6-4 Neil Robertson (Aus)

Peter Ebdon (Eng) 0-6 Marco Fu (HK)



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see also
Masters scores and match schedule
16 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Ding and Cope set up Masters semi
13 Jan 11 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan suffers Masters defeat
11 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Higgins dumped out by dogged Dott
10 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Williams hurdles pink in Ding defeat
10 Jan 11 |  Snooker
King beats Masters champion Selby
09 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Ask the snooker experts
14 Jan 11 |  Snooker


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