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Allen wins the mind games to boost glory bid

By Luke Baker

Published 20/02/2016

On cue: Mark Allen powered through to semi-finals
On cue: Mark Allen powered through to semi-finals

Mark Allen believes getting into his opponent's head proved decisive after cruising into the semi-finals of the Welsh Open with an impressive display.

The Antrim cueman hasn't won a major title for nearly three years but is now just two victories away after ruthlessly disposing of home favourite Michael White 5-0 at Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena.

Allen raced into a 4-0 lead by the mid-session interval and then clinched it with a 79 break to set up a last-four clash with world No.3 Neil Robertson today.

The Ulsterman fist-pumped after pinching the second frame when needing a snooker and admits it was all part of his plan to frustrate White.

"It wasn't the best performance but I'm very happy with the result - my gameplan that I went in with worked perfectly really," said Allen.

"It happened a bit earlier than I expected - I stole the second frame and then fist-pumping was part of the plan to get him more frustrated after losing it.

"I knew that Michael would be under pressure in front of his home crowd and at the later stages of a ranking event.

"It was a time for me to use my experience. I thought if I could slow Michael down and get him frustrated that would serve me well and it did."

Earlier in the day, Ronnie O'Sullivan continued the imperious form he has shown all week as he brushed aside world No.1 Mark Selby 5-1.

O'Sullivan wrapped up the victory with a 132 break but that paled in comparison as Ding Junhui made the sixth maximum 147 break of his career despite losing 5-2 to Australia's Robertson.

O'Sullivan snubbed a potential 147 earlier this week, claiming the £10,000 prize money on offer was "too cheap", but Ding is adamant he would never turn down a chance to make a bit of history.

"I just wanted to make the 147 for myself, you don't get many chances for one, so you have to take them when you can," said Ding, whose maximum was his first since 2013.

"For me the prize money is okay but making 147s is about new records for me, I like to beat the records every time I play in a tournament."

Robertson said of the 147: "I had the feeling all week it might happen, after Ronnie made the 146 and with so many good players left in the draw.

"Ding's positional play was beautiful - there were a few tense moments on the colours but he held himself together really well. It was a fantastic break.

Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing 19 tournaments, including the World Championship, UK, Welsh Open and Masters, as well as exclusive series 'The Ronnie O'Sullivan Show'.

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