Dott defeats Allen to advance to semi-finals

Scotland's Graeme Dott won a 13-12 thriller against Irishman Mark Allen to book a place in the World Championship semi-finals.

Dott defeats Allen to advance to semi-finals

Scotland's Graeme Dott won a 13-12 thriller against Irishman Mark Allen to book a place in the World Championship semi-finals.

The 32-year-old has twice reached the Crucible final, finishing runner-up to Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2004 before defeating Peter Ebdon two years later.

He has since battled depression and his career was in the balance at one stage.

Now he is just one more win away from a third appearance, having come back from 12-10 down to beat Allen, and is certain to be back in the top 16 after dropping out last year.

The match had been deadlocked at 8-8 after yesterday's evening session, and a swift turnaround meant they were first on at 10am at the Crucible this morning.

Dott won the opening two frames of the concluding session with breaks of 65 and 54, before Allen hit back to draw level at 10-10 going into the interval.

Irish cueman Allen reached last year's semi-finals in Sheffield and the 24-year-old was aiming for another visit to the last four.

With three more frames required for victory, the match had effectively come down to a best-of-five showdown, and a test of nerve.

Dott made a break of 53 and led 64-0 in the 21st frame but he took on a difficult long red and missed it, giving Allen an unexpected chance.

He needed two visits to clear up but did so after Dott had an unfortunate kiss when escaping from a snooker, to leave a tempting red over a corner pocket.

Allen gave a fist pump as he rammed the black in, taking the frame 65-64.

He won the next too, after Dott stalled at 31 when he had a chance to win the frame from 44-0 behind, to go within one frame of victory.

Dott's response was outstanding, a break of 115 to close to 12-11 and halt Allen's run of winning four successive frames.

Dott drew level and then won the decider with a break of 41, punching the air in delight.

Dott said: "It was a great game. I said to Mark when the referee was setting up the balls at 12-each that I had thought it was going to go that way.

"The two of us both played really well and just hit each other constantly for two days.

"My temperament is pretty good and I never let it bother me, and I knew if I got a chance that I was playing well enough to take it.

"That was the match that gets me back into the top 16. If I'd lost that match 13-12 it would have been hard not being in the top 16. But I'm over the moon.

"I've got a lot of points, a lot of money and I'm in the semis, so I've got a chance to win it."

Last year Dott was in danger of dropping out of the top 32, when he was at a low ebb, but he said: "After the first couple of tournaments this season things picked up.

"It coincided with the announcement of Barry Hearn (as chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association).

"It made me want to be a part of it. I don't want to just sit there with my career finished. It maybe gave me the kick that I needed."

Allen said: "I didn't turn up for the match at all, in any of the three sessions. I didn't play anywhere near my best.

"From 12-10 Graeme played three perfect frames really and deserved to win.

"I didn't score anywhere near the way I had in the first two games."

Allen had the distinction of scoring the first Crucible 146 break in his second-round win over Mark Davis, putting him in line for the £10,000 (€11,493) top prize.

He would love to see Dott pick up the title.

"I think he'll need to play a little bit better but considering the guts and determination that he showed in those last two frames, I don't think his next opponent will like to play Graeme," Allen said.

"I'd like to see Graeme go all the way, he's a nice fella too."

Shaun Murphy and Ali Carter will head into their final session this evening tied at 8-8.

Carter made breaks of 41, 87, 73 and 64 in a superb comeback after Murphy had extended his overnight lead from 5-3 to 8-4.

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