John Higgins relishing chance for revenge on Mark Allen at Champion of Champions

'I can’t wait to play him. I can’t wait.'

John Higgins relishing chance for revenge on Mark Allen at Champion of Champions
2023 BetVictor English Open - Day 6
John Higgins was in stunning form in beating Ding Junhui on Wednesday (Picture: Getty Images)

John Higgins has payback on his mind ahead of his Champion of Champions semi-final with Mark Allen on Saturday.

The Wizard of Wishaw was in immense form as he beat Ding Junhui 6-1 on Wednesday night, knocking in six breaks of over 80, while the Chinese superstar knocked in a century in the one frame he won.

That victory sets up a clash with Allen in the semis after the Pistol won his group on Monday by beating Jimmy White and Ali Carter.

It will be the first meeting between the two since the 2021 Northern Ireland Open final which was something of a classic in the Belfast event.

Higgins appeared to be on the verge of victory when he took an 8-6 lead with a superb break of 136, but the home favourite kept swinging and won the last three frames to clam a famous 9-8 victory.

It was a painful loss for Higgins and he is excited about the prospect of taking on Allen again, in their first clash for over two years.

‘We always have great matches, me and Mark. We’ve not played a lot as professionals,’ said Higgins. ‘But every time we’ve played, we always seem to have really high-quality games.

‘The last time we played, he managed to pip me in the Northern Ireland Open final 9-8, so I suppose I maybe owe him one back, but I can’t wait to play him. I can’t wait.’

Higgins has had a mixed season so far, with this being his third run to a semi-final but if he keeps up the form he showed against Ding then he will be very hard to stop.

‘I’m delighted with that. I can’t play any better than that really,’ he said of his performance on Wednesday night. ‘Obviousuly I’ve done six 80-odd breaks, it was good. I really enjoyed playing out there.

‘Sometimes you’re out there in front of a big crowd, and you can maybe get into your shell a little bit. But I felt good out there tonight, so that was great.

‘It’s a brilliant venue here, it really is. I’ve always enjoyed playing here – it’s great for the spectators and good for your friends as well, with the balcony is overlooking things.

‘I loved it out there tonight, and now I can’t wait to come back out on Saturday.

‘I knew I was going to have my work cut out, because Ding had a great result against Anda Zhang, but I’m delighted.’

The final group s played on Thursday, with Judd Trump taking on Baipat Siripaporn and Shaun Murphy meeting Gary Wilson and the winners playing for the final semi-final place against Barry Hawkins.

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