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Mark Allen determined to protect impressive record against Mark Selby at the Crucible

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Bring it on: Mark Allen is relishing another encounter with Mark Selby

Bring it on: Mark Allen is relishing another encounter with Mark Selby

Bring it on: Mark Allen is relishing another encounter with Mark Selby

Mark Allen has finally found his Crucible home and can't wait to put his winning record against Mark Selby to the test in front of returning fans in Sheffield.

Antrim ace Allen will take on Selby in the last-16 of the World Championship today bidding to rack up his 11th win in 20 matches against the three-time world champion.

Snooker fans are flocking back to the hallowed Sheffield baize this year and Allen, the World No.13, is relishing putting on a show.

Allen's 10-2 win over Lyu Haotian this week marked his maiden first-round triumph since 2018 and the reigning Champion of Champions (35) said: "It feels like a tournament in itself now.

"I heard John Higgins' interview saying the nerves you experience in the first round are unlike anything else you'd experience in any other tournament - and he's absolutely right.

"You don't feel part of the tournament until you're in that second round. I haven't been good enough over the last few years to get through to that second round, but hopefully now I can push on."

On fans returning to the Crucible, Allen added: "It's brilliant. It's been a very, very tough 12 months on the table and playing behind closed doors isn't a lot of fun. In general, it's just been very tough - even in the Champion of Champions when I played some of my best stuff, I was very flat because there's no one there watching.

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"You want to win, don't get me wrong, but it's just not the same. Hopefully this tournament and going forward will be a sign of things to come.

"Mark's a three-time world champion, so it's going to be very, very tough. But he's someone who I enjoyed playing - I enjoy the challenge that Mark brings and I've got a good record against him."

World No.4 Selby boasts 14 ranking event titles more than Allen but the Northern Ireland star holds the superior head-to-head record. Allen has toppled his old foe on 10 of the 19 occasions they've met and is bidding to reach the semi-finals in Sheffield for the first time since 2009.

Mark Williams scored two centuries as he fought back to lead fellow multiple world champion John Higgins 5-3 in a high-quality start to an absorbing second-round match at the Crucible.

The Welshman (46) was 3-1 down but scored his second ton and further breaks of 91 and 70 helped him win four in a row.

÷Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17-May 3.


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