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Allen's sweat is over after place on the World stage confirmed

By Robert Jones

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen can forget about having to qualify for the World Championship - he has held onto his top-16 ranking on the world ladder, meaning he automatically earns a spot at The Crucible.

The Masters champion faced the prospect of having to play three qualifiers but will now be the last of the 16 seeds.

Defeats for Jack Lisowski and Tom Ford in the China Open quarter-finals mean Allen will play in Sheffield.

The Antrim man could face World No.1 Mark Selby in round two.

Selby - who lifted the China Open title - has won the world crown for the last two years, defeating Ding Junhui and John Higgins.

Allen lost 6-5 to Welshman Mark Williams in the last-16 of the China Open, having beaten Noppon Saengkham of Thailand and China's Yan Bingtao.

Ford or Lisowski could have moved into the top 16 if they had won the £225,000 first prize.

Allen reached the semi-finals of the World Championship in 2009 but has failed to move beyond the second round in his last six attempts.

The event will be staged from April 21 to May 7.

Belfast Telegraph

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