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Mark Allen’s hopes of third straight Haikou World Open title dashed

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen

Mark Allen’s hopes of winning three straight Haikou World Open titles were ended by Shaun Murphy on Saturday.

The Northern Irishman has a real liking for the Chinese event and had serenely made his way through to the semi-finals, prompting thoughts of a third title in as many years.

But 2005 world champion Murphy blocked his path, taking a 6-4 win to set-up a final date with Mark Selby.

Selby saw off Marco Fu in the earlier last-four clash, meaning Murphy has a chance to avenge his 6-1 drubbing by his good friend in January’s Masters.

Murphy had to pull out all the stops against an in-form Allen but, after beating Graeme Dott on a fluked black on Friday, looked in the mood to enjoy himself.

He went 1-0 up and, despite being pegged back, knocked in scores of 74 and 69 to go clear at 3-1.

Allen hit back with a 57 but 67 from Murphy put him close to glory. The next two frames were shared and when Allen slammed in a hundred to make it 5-4.

Murphy held his nerve, though, and got over the line.

Earlier in the day, Selby held off a spirited Fu fightback to book his place in the showpiece.

 

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