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Result: Ali Carter battles past John Higgins to book Masters semi-final spot

Result: Ali Carter battles past John Higgins to book Masters semi-final spot
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The 40-year-old is only playing at Alexandra Palace because Ronnie O'Sullivan chose not to compete.

Ali Carter came out on top in an attritional battle with John Higgins to continue his fairytale Masters run.

Carter beat two-time Masters champion Higgins 6-3 in a match that lasted nearly four hours and did not finish until 11.29pm.

The 40-year-old is only playing at the Alexandra Palace because Ronnie O'Sullivan did not take up his place in the tournament, yet he has made his first Masters semi-final at the 12th attempt.

— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) January 16, 2020

"It's just great to have the opportunity to be here," Carter told Eurosport after his marathon quarter-final win.

"It was a real scrappy game and I struggled to get into my stride.

"I was aware early on that John was struggling and sometimes you put yourself under pressure to kick on.

"But I just kept running out of position all the time. It gets a bit embarrassing, but sometimes you've just got to suffer it."

2020 Dafabet Masters – Day Five – Alexandra Palace
Ali Carter struggled to find his best form in a match that lasted nearly four hours (Adam Davy/PA)

Carter won the opening two frames, both of which took nearly 30 minutes to complete, before Higgins responded with a decisive break of 54 in the third.

But Carter took the two frames either side of the interval – Higgins counting the cost of a tricky missed brown in the fifth.

Higgins' struggles ended dramatically as a 140 clearance – the best break of the tournament – and a fluid 73 cut the gap to one.

Carter, however, then won an error-strewn 47-minute frame before closing out victory with a 72 break, by far his best of the match, after Higgins failed to cut a pink into the middle pocket.

Shaun Murphy will be Carter's semi-final opponent after the 2015 Masters champion survived some late wobbles to overcome Joe Perry 6-3.

Murphy was 3-1 up at the interval and then took a 5-2 lead after Perry missed a red which would have seen him cut the deficit back to just a single frame.

Perry briefly kept his hopes alive of becoming the oldest ever Masters winner.

But Murphy sealed victory with a brilliant pot with the rest, a delicate cannon, and a 32 break.

2020 Dafabet Masters – Day Five – Alexandra Palace
Former Masters champion Shaun Murphy is in the last four again (Adam Davy/PA)

"It was a big game for me, first chance to get in the semis in five years here," said Murphy.

"Obviously the most important stat is getting to six first, which I did, but there were times in the match I was really struggling.

"It felt it got a bit complicated at the end, my mistakes put me in a lot of trouble.

"On another day I might not be sat here."

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Ali Carter in action against Mark Selby during the second round of The Dafabet World Snooker Championship at Crucible Theatre on April 25, 2014
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