Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Rocket and Allen bow out on day of shocks at Crucible

Red-hot favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan was sent packing from the Betfred.com World Championship by Mark Selby last night.

Selby improbably won the final four frames to earn a famous 13-11 victory over ‘The Rocket’.

The Leicester man began the evening session 9-7 behind but knowing that O'Sullivan, who was curiously booed by a minority of spectators as he entered the arena, would be expecting him to fight all the way.

But even at 9-5 behind, he said he was still confident.

“I felt as though I had every chance,” he said.

“Until you get to 13 then it's never over, so I just kept trying my hardest and taking one frame at a time and you never know. Things can turn around.”

Graeme Dott awaits Selby in the semi-finals, having beaten Northern ireland’s Mark Allen 13-12 from 12-10 behind.

“I'll go in there give it my all and take every ball at a time,” added Selby. It's going to be a tough game. Graeme's been world champion before, so he knows what to expect, but I'm really confident.

“As long as I believe I can win the tournament that's all that matters to me.

“It's all I ever wanted to do as a kid, win the World Championship, so it's probably a little added pressure to me.”

Reflecting on his recent record against O'Sullivan, Selby said: “I just concentrate on my own game and my own game seems to be good enough to beat him at the moment.”

Selby's 46 break in the 23rd frame proved decisive as he swept into the lead.

O'Sullivan was in with a break of 36 at the start of the must-win frame but he broke down and after making two visits to the table, Selby slammed in a brown to raise O’Sullivan from his seat in defeat.

Meanwhile, Allen last night tipped Graeme Dott to go all the way after his heartbreaking quarter-final deciding frame defeat at the hands of the Scot.

Allen looked set for victory at 12-10 ahead, requiring just one frame to repeat last year’s achievement of reaching the semi-finals.

But Dott, world champion in 2006, reeled off three frames to pip the Antrim cueman to a place in the last four.

The pair are pals off the table and Allen would like nothing more than to see Dott lift the title on Bank Holiday Monday.

“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 playing Graeme,” Allen said. “I'd like to see Graeme go all the way, he's a nice fella.

“From 12-10 Graeme played three perfect frames really and deserved to win,” admitted Allen.

“I didn't turn up for the match at all, in any of the three sessions. I didn't play anywhere near my best. 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 top prize.

Allen got off to a great start against Dott, racing into a 4-0 lead, but the 32-year-old battled back and the overnight score was 8-8. On the resumption yesterday, Dott made it 10-8 before being pegged back to 10-10.

The 21st frame looked to be a turning point for Allen, nicking it by a point after being 64-0 down. The 24-year-old’s fist pumping celebration summed up what it meant to move 11-10 ahead.

He won the next as well but Dott's response was outstanding, a break of 115 to close to 12-11 and halt Allen's run of four successive frames. Dott drew level and then won the decider with a break of 41, punching the air in delight.

52 year-old Steve Davis’s amazing run finally came to an end as he went down 13-5 to Australia’s Neil Robertson while another former world champion, Shaun Murphy, lost a deciding frame thriller to Ali Carter.

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