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King's comeback means end of world for Allen

By John Skilbeck

Mark Allen's World Championship hopes were ended last night as Mark King pulled off a dramatic comeback to dump the Ulsterman out of the tournament in Sheffield.

Leading 8-6 in the best-of-19 contest, Allen crumbled and crashed out of the competition after losing the final four frames.

King, on his 14th appearance at the Crucible, has endured a disappointing season but could make up for it in the World Championships.

The 39-year-old Essex-man came from 8-6 behind to triumph 10-8, and punched the air in delight as he left the famous old arena.

For Allen, who was a semi-finalist in 2009, it was another Crucible disappointment after he suffered the same fate as last year, when he also failed to make it beyond the opening round of the competition. He suffered a disappointing loss to Cao Yupeng in the first round 12 months ago and it will be difficult for him to overcome this latest setback.

"I wouldn't say it's a setback but it's disappointing, obviously, today," said Allen.

"It'll have no bearing on my future matches; it's just one of those things.

"Mark played his best snooker of the match from 8-6.

"I don't need geeing up. It's nice to do well, but I won't dwell on it."

Allen, who retained his World Open title in March, started the evening session 5-4 down after he lost the first two frames of the best-of-19 match earlier in the day. The 27-year-old won the third frame comfortably with the help of a break of 83, the highest of the first session.

Allen levelled after a run of 66 and then went 3-2 ahead as the pair won two frames apiece.

King levelled at 4-4 with a break of 74 before winning the ninth to take a one-frame advantage into their second session.

Allen made a blistering start to the evening session, winning the first three frames and with a 7-5 lead it looked like on a matter of time before he would close the match out and progress to the second round.

His character was shining through too, with Allen getting the three snookers he needed in the 12th frame to go two in front.

King brought it back to 7-6 before Allen won the next frame to restore his two-frame lead, but that would be as good as it got for the Co Antrim player.

King took the next three frames and although victory was already in the bag he cleared up the colours in the last to round of his win in style.

King said: "It's probably up there with my best results but it's no real surprise to me," he said.

"On my day I can beat anyone and lose to anyone.

"I've just come here and tried to enjoy it for once and try to relax.

"I thought, 'If I get beaten I've still got a lovely wife and three kids to go home to'.

"Towards the end I was lucky I wasn't throwing up, I was trying to breathe.

"When I potted game ball I nearly started crying.

"If I get pumped 13-0 in the next game, I won't mind.

"I'll probably snog my wife's face off the moment I get home tonight."

He will now face China's Ding Junhui or Scot Alan McManus at the last-16 stage.

John Higgins tumbled to a 10-6 defeat against qualifier Mark Davis.

Last year's runner-up Ali Carter came from behind to edge 5-4 ahead of fellow Englishman Ben Woollaston.

A surprise result was in the offing as Thailand's world number 70 Dechawat Poomjaeng moved 5-3 ahead of Glasgow's Stephen Maguire, a semi-finalist last year.

Late last night Graham Dott beat former world champion Peter Ebdon 10-6 after a gritty encounter.

Belfast Telegraph


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