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Mark Allen ‘trying’ not to build up pressure of home dream after winning Northern Ireland Open semi-final

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Mark Allen is one win away from achieving a dream. Pic Pacemaker

Mark Allen is one win away from achieving a dream. Pic Pacemaker

Mark Allen is one win away from achieving a dream. Pic Pacemaker

Mark Allen admitted he’s trying not to consider the magnitude of his match on Sunday evening after seeing off Ricky Walden to reach the final of the Northern Ireland Open.

Allen, who will play the winner of tonight’s second semi-final against John Higgins or Yan Bingtao at the Waterfront, won his semi-final 6-3 in what was a tougher encounter than the score might suggest.

He had led 2-0 before breaks of 73 and 80 had Walden level at the break, Allen at least relieved not to have to share the 147 bonus he earned last weekend as Walden missed an opportunity with five reds left.

Allen regained the lead before a bizarre 52-minute frame saw impressive safety work and unconvincing potting attempts before Allen eventually got the win for 4-2.

A 133 total in the following frame, concluded by the black being bashed into the pocket and the white ball bouncing around the table to rapturous applause.

It was a snippet of what Allen could expect to hear tomorrow night if he can come out on top to land his home trophy for the first time, having finished off this win with a 73.

"I'm trying not to build it up because then you put more pressure on yourself but to win in front of your home fans would be very, very special," he told Eurosport.

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"I knew it was a big occasion but I tried to loosen myself up a bit after the interval by going for a few more shots."


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