Snooker: Allen shoots down The Rocket and eyes first major triumph
Mark Allen is determined that victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan will be the springboard to a first major title come Sunday night.
The Antrim cueman beat ‘The Rocket’ 6-4 in the Ladbrokes Mobile Masters at Wembley Arena yesterday to book a quarter-final clash against Stephen Hendry or current world champion Neil Robertson — who play today — on Friday afternoon.
And Allen revealed that, while offering his congratulations after the match, the three-time world champion urged him to go on and win a first title.
“Sometimes Ronnie can be a bit different but when he's a gentleman, he's a true gent and as we walked out he said ‘it's about time you won one of these.'
“Any win over Ronnie is a great win — especially at Wembley — and even if I don't play my best, the big occasion makes me raise my game,” explained the world number 11.
“I don't want to look too far ahead but there is no reason why I can't go on and win it now as I've already beaten the best player in the tournament.
“I've beaten him at the Crucible but to beat him here in his own backyard where he's the hero — that's something else,” he added.
“It was more about bottle than quality.
“He put me under a lot of pressure from 4-2 — his long potting was phenomenal.
“But if somebody had given me 4-4 at the start I would have taken it — it's best of three from there and I'm capable of beating Ronnie.
“He wasn't at his best but I'm happy to win.
“But Ronnie is still a genius and he will continue to be a genius,” he added.
O'Sullivan was generous in his praise of the 24-year-old.
“Mark has definitely got the winning mentality to go all the way,” said O’Sullivan.
“He's a big time player and he played a fantastic match.
“It was a tough match, all credit to Mark.
“He's had a great season, got to the semi-finals of the UK and (previously) the World Championship.
“I had great support but you've got to make sure you do the business on the table.”
Allen had dominated the early exchanges, leading 3-1 at the mid-session interval, but O'Sullivan fought his way back to 4-4.
Allen recovered his poise, though, to claim victory.
Allen took the opening frame with breaks of 38 and 32.
The Ulsterman moved into a |2-1 lead and was unlucky not to record a century in frame four as he missed the brown on 88.
A break of 64 saw O'Sullivan snatch the first frame after the interval from 62-0 down, however, and brought him back within one frame.
Allen extended his lead in the next but O'Sullivan then pulled back to 4-4.
O’Sullivan’s problems returned in the next frame, though, as he missed an easy red and Allen took his chance with a break of 87 to the pink to move to within a frame of victory.
O'Sullivan led 34-32 in the next before both players struggled on the same red.
Allen then produced an excellent long pot and cleared to the final blue to win frame and match.
Allen had tamed both O’Sullivan and the crowd.