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Mark Allen ready to step up his quest for World Championship glory

By Frank Brownlow

Published 24/04/2015

Table topper: Mark Allen is back in action at the Crucible
Table topper: Mark Allen is back in action at the Crucible

Mark Allen is confident he can go through the gears and hit top form against Barry Hawkins in the World Championship at the Crucible today.

Despite winning nine successive frames on the way to hammering Ryan Day 10-3 in the first round, the Ulsterman feels he was nowhere near his best.

"Even though I won nine frames in a row, I only really played my 'C' game and I can get a lot better," he said.

"I don't think many players will want to play me. Barry Hawkins has a good record here but I beat him 13-12 a few years ago," added the world number 12.

"When I am scoring is when I am at my most dangerous," said the 29-year-old.

"But there are still a lot of things in that performance (against Day) that I am not happy about.

"I have to work on my safety and long potting because, in the balls, I don't think I will miss too many.

"To win nine frames in a row against anyone is an achievement, but there is more to come."

Allen - who reached the semi-finals in 2009 - plays the second session of his best-of-25 frame contest against England's world number five Hawkins tomorrow morning, with the concluding session tomorrow night.

The winner faces Neil Robertson or Ali Carter in the quarter-finals of the £1.4million showpiece event.

Judd Trump beat Stuart Carrington 10-6 - and quickly tipped Allen's potential last eight opponent Robertson as the man to beat in Sheffield.

World number six Trump, who plays Marco Fu in the last 16, said: "In my eyes Neil Robertson is favourite to win the tournament.

"Neil and Mark Selby are going to be the toughest two but I'm confident I can beat anybody.

"A lot of players are playing well, a lot of players fancy their chances."

He added: "I was always in control against Stuart, I didn't do a lot wrong. All aspects of my game were pretty good.

"Stuart played exceptionally well, better than anyone I've ever seen on their debut, so he can take massive credit from that.

"The balls weren't quite running for me so I just needed to stay patient."

Trump continued: "Marco will be as tough as anyone. I will just stay quietly confident and go about my business and hopefully I can keep playing like I am.

"I know that if I play well then I have a very good chance."

Tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan - who played part of his 10-3 first round victory over Craig Steadman without shoes due to sore feet - returns to action tomorrow night against Matthew Stevens, Belfast cueman Joe Swail's conqueror in qualifying.

Belfast Telegraph

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