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'I want to win': Mark Allen targets improvement after first round win at UK Championship

Mark Allen says he's not content with just reaching the latter stages of tournaments.
Mark Allen says he's not content with just reaching the latter stages of tournaments.

By Peter White at the York Barbican

It was a case of job done for Belfast’s Mark Allen, as the world number seven booked his spot in the second round of the Betway UK Championship with a comfortable opening victory.

Despite eventually prevailing 6-3 against 1992 champion Jimmy White, Allen found the going somewhat tougher than expected and had to twice come from behind to seal his spot in the last 64.

And having made four semi-finals so far this season, the 33-year-old was pleased to get over the line as he bids to go as deep as possible at the first Triple Crown event of the season.

He said: “I made it quite tough for myself out there and probably showed him a bit too much respect and played into his hands a bit. I felt a bit under the weather so it was a bit of a grind at times.

“I played better from 2-2 when the game sped up and I just felt that if I could get in front then he would start feeling the pressure a bit more. He then missed a couple of balls and I capitalised.

“I got to the last four at the Northern Ireland Open earlier this month and so far this season it’s taken the top players to knock me out at the latter stages.

“But I don't want to just get to semi-finals - I want to win tournaments!”

Allen’s quest for glory continues with a tough test against Welshman Jak Jones in the second round, who overcame Andrew Higginson 6-4 in his first round tie.

But having finished runner-up at the tournament on two occasions – including last season – Allen admitted the event does stand out as one of his favourites and he hopes to prolong his stay in Yorkshire for as long as possible.

He said: “Obviously Jak's a good player but I just have to worry about my own game.

“I'll need to play a lot better than I did in my first match, but with a couple of days rest I should be ready for it.

“It's just good to be part of a big event again. I love coming here to York because it's a great venue and there's a lot of history attached to this tournament, so it's nice to still be in with a chance.”

Watch the UK Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White.

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