Masters 2018: Mark Allen 'excited' about opportunity to make final

Mark Allen
Mark Allen also reached the semi-finals of the Masters in 2011 and 2015
2018 Dafabet Masters
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 14-21 January
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Mark Allen says he is "excited" about the opportunity to make the final of the Masters for the first time.

Allen, 31, will face two-time champion John Higgins in Saturday night's semi-final at Alexandra Palace after seeing off Luca Brecel and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

"My game is in good shape but I'm not getting carried away," said Allen.

"The latter stages of these big events are where you want to be but I still have two very tough matches ahead of me if I'm going to win this tournament."

Masters schedule & BBC coverage times

The Northern Irishman describes his performances in a 6-3 first round win over Brecel and a 6-1 quarter-final triumph over O'Sullivan as "more solid than spectacular" and is keen to cut out "careless mistakes".

"Against Luca I scored OK in parts but I gave a few chances away and it was the same against Ronnie, where I scored pretty well but still gave him a few chances," explained the world number eight.

"On another day those games could have been a lot closer but I still think my game is in good shape - I just have to sharpen up a few things."

The former world semi-finalist says he thrives on the atmosphere generated by an occasionally boisterous crowd at the London venue and enjoys the challenge posed by competing against the world's best players in a pressurised environment.

"The crowd are normally a bit louder at the weekend and they get involved a bit more but that just adds to the occasion.

"That's why you play - you want to be involved in the big arenas in the later stages of big tournaments. That's what it's all about and you will judge your career by how you performed on those big occasions.

"There will be no more nerves than any other match - I enjoy the matches against the best players as I feel it brings out the best in me and I can get up for it a bit more. It doesn't really faze me who I'm playing.

"If I get to the final it will be a nice feather in my cap but I didn't come here to reach the final. I came here to win the tournament."

Allen previously reached the semi-finals of the event in 2011 and 2015.

Higgins beat Welshman Ryan Day 6-1 on Friday night to reach the last four.

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