Ricky Walden will battle it out with Mark Allen tomorrow for the 2014 International Championship title,after both came through contrasting semi finals in Chengdu.
First man through yesterday was Ricky Walden who brought the run of Robert Milkins to an end in pretty emphatic style by a scoreline of 9-2.
Walden was right out of the traps here,taking a 2-0 lead before Milkins got off the mark,but Walden restored his two frame lead to make it 3-1 at interval.On resumption Milkins closed to 3-2,but that to be the last time he troubled to scorer as a series of big breaks from Walden saw him pull away a comfortable victory.
The second semi final,played today could not have been more different as Mark Allen & Mark Williams played out a classic that went all the way to a deciding frame.
In a match played a break neck speed,It was Allen who started the better,going 2-0 with runs of 92 & 71 before two wonderful centuries (120 &!35) drew Williams level at 2-2.This really was snooker of the highest quality and there was to be no let up after the interval as the big breaks continued and Allen opened up a 5-3 lead to go into the evening session.
It the evening and no sign of things letting up as the frames rattled by at,what in the end was an average of 13 minutes a frame,but it was Allen who opened up a three frame lead to go 7-4.Williams though,obviously buoyed on by his victory over Ronnie,was playing some of his best snooker in quite some time and fought back to level things up at 7-7.
That looked like becoming 8-7 to Williams when he left Allen needing two snookers on the last red,but disaster struck for the Welshman as he hit the black on a failed escape & Allen cleared to regain the lead with the aid of a wonderful double on the black.
Williams though was not done yet and he produced another great break to level at 8-8 and give this match the grandstand finish it deserved.
Into that final frame then and after all that had gone before it was perhaps fitting that both players had their chances to win it,It was Allen who got in first,but it was Williams who looked to have the match at his mercy,only to miss the final red along the top cushion & Allen cleared to the pink to win this superb match 9-8.
This was snooker of the highest order and great as the win was for Allen,it was also nice to see Williams back to near his best.Hopefully it was a sign of things to come from the Welsh legend.
So there we have it. Ricky Walden & Mark Allen will battle it out tomorrow for over the best of 19 to claim the biggest tournament China has to offer. Lets hope we have a great final in front of a packed house.