Higgins crushes Mark Allen's Crucible dream with 13-9 win
Mark Allen was left feeling sorry for himself as his dream of a Betfred World Championship title came to an end with defeat to John Higgins.
The Antrim potter delivered some of the best snooker of his life at the Crucible, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 13-9 defeat to the four-time former champion.
That included four centuries for Allen, looking in cruise control at 5-2 up, only for Higgins to take seven of the next nine frames to change the complexion of the second-round match.
From there Allen was unable to recover, feeling his performance was far better than the scoreline suggested in Sheffield
“It was frustrating, I felt as though I played really well and things went against me, there were a couple of frames where I had frames pinched from me and 13-9 is not a fair reflection of the match,” he said.
“John played really well, take nothing away from him, and he closed out the match in a way you’d expect him to do.
“In the last two frames, I barely had a pot and every time I was at the table I was in trouble, but that’s what the best players do.
“With John, you’re never really sure whether you’re in control, he’s a fighter and never gives up and no lead is ever big enough.”
The second session of the match proved to be the key as the Scot roared his way forward, leaving Allen cursing at improper preparation in his bid for a first world crown.
That left him with an uphill task come the evening, though he rallied to take the first frame of the night and cut the deficit to one.
Higgins was able to keep him at arm’s length however, with breaks of 63 and 120 helping him to a late surge – including a steal that would have seen the game locked at 9-9.
“At 5-3 I was trying not to be too downbeat, I’d played really well and on another day I’m 7-1 up, but I had to take the positives in that I’d played so much better in that session than in the first round,” Allen added.
“If I had continued to play like that I would have been very confident about getting the job done.
“Unfortunately for me, 10am comes way too early and that’s my own fault – I don’t prepare properly enough for these tournaments and I don’t practice at 10am, so I wasn’t getting started until 12pm.”
Watch the Snooker World Championship Live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds
Belfast Telegraph Digital