Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

World Snooker Championship: Fighter Allen eyes big prize

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Mark Allen of Northern Ireland poses after victory in his round two game against Barry Hawkins of England on day eight of the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship at The Crucible Theatre on April 23, 2011 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Mark Allen is ready to fight all the way for glory at the Betfred.com World Championship after delivering two final-frame knock-outs.

The Antrim man has scraped past Matthews Stevens and Barry Hawkins to set up a quarter-final against former winner Mark Williams.

He fended off a Hawkins fightback from 12-9 behind on Saturday night, to triumph 13-12.

The 25-year-old has revealed he is suffering from depression but believes he can get through any strife away from snooker, because of his survival instincts.

And those same instincts have already brought rewards at the Crucible.

“My preparations were very poor and I didn't expect too much here, but I've always been a fighter. My family have brought me up that way,” said Allen who faces Williams on Tuesday morning.

“And that's one thing that'll never change, no matter what happens on or off the table.

“I'm not going to give up in life or in snooker.

“I just seem to be able to find something; I don't know what it is. I seem to be able to find something when the pressure's on and it counts.

“But it'd be nice to win a match comfortably for a change.”

Allen reached the World Championship semi-finals in 2009 when he lost to John Higgins, having knocked out Ronnie O'Sullivan earlier in the tournament.

Both Higgins and O'Sullivan remain in the line-up this year, and Allen is wary of their presence but optimistic there could be a first-time champion, as there was when Neil Robertson triumphed in 2010.

“There are so many good players left but you expect that here at the World Championship,” Allen said.

“The better players always rise to the top.

“It's no coincidence that experienced players like Higgins, and O'Sullivan, Williams and Hendry have won so many times here.

“It'd be nice for a rookie to come through this year.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Hendry avoided the humiliation of losing with a session to spare but record-breaker Mark Selby yesterday moved to the brink of winning their clash.

As Selby became the first player to make six century breaks in a Crucible match, Hendry's slender hopes of reaching the quarter-finals were all but extinguished.

The Leicester potter moved from 7-1 ahead overnight to lead 12-4, meaning he will require just one more today to reach the last eight for the third successive year.

Selby required six of yesterday afternoon's eight frames to earn himself a day off but Hendry dug in and gave a satisfied smile when he reached 10-4.

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