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Honest Mark Allen aims to step up glory bid

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Win’s a win: An off-form Mark Allen on his way to victory yesterday and a place in tonight’s Masters semi-final

Win’s a win: An off-form Mark Allen on his way to victory yesterday and a place in tonight’s Masters semi-final

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Win’s a win: An off-form Mark Allen on his way to victory yesterday and a place in tonight’s Masters semi-final

Mark Allen was searingly honest about his Masters quarter-final clash with Joe Perry. "It was embarrassing," admitted the Ulsterman.

And that following a 6-4 victory which books Allen's place in tonight's semi-final of the £600,000 event at Alexandra Palace.

"It was as bad as it gets for two professional snooker players, let alone two of the top players," said the Antrim cueman, who turns 29 next month

"I said after my first match (against John Higgins) that we are out there to entertain people, but that was nowhere near entertainment.

"But I'm proud of the way I stayed calm, and I fancied the job at 4-4, even though Joe had scored more heavily than me.

"I made a good break at 4-4 and didn't miss much in the last frame. I showed again that I've got good bottle under pressure.

"Joe hasn't got a good record in the Masters and he made mistakes towards the end," he said.

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"He's a very good player and a great guy but he hasn't got a good record in the later stages of big tournaments.

"It was always in the back of my mind that if it went close then he might miss one or two.

"The first frame of a match often sets the tone and we both struggled early on and dragged each other down.

"I'm very happy to still be in the tournament because that's the type of match I would have lost a few years ago.

"I'm nowhere near my best - that was 10 per cent of the way I can play.

"The good thing is that I can't get any worse."

The match was in stark contrast to Allen's opening 6-4 win against Higgins, which included a barrage of high scoring.

Allen's top break was a mere 55, but he held his nerve at crucial stages of the match.

The world number six is through to the Masters semi-finals for the second time after losing to Marco Fu in 2011.

He will be aiming to reach the final of a Triple Crown event for the second time after losing to Judd Trump in the 2011 UK Championship final.

Allen has two ranking triumphs under his belt - the World Open in 2012 and 2013.

But success in the Masters - and the £200,000 top prize that goes with it - would be the greatest feat by an Ulsterman since the days of Alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor.


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