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Victory over O'Sullivan is so special, says Allen

 

By Charlie Bennett

Mark Allen may have been a rank outsider when he arrived in London, but he says no one will want to play him now after he sent Ronnie O'Sullivan packing.

The Ulsterman has been to the UK Championship final and has three ranking event titles to his name, but there is a feeling he could be on the verge of something special at the Dafabet Masters - such is the way he has performed this week en route to the semi-finals.

O'Sullivan is the acid test for any player, and Allen passed with flying colours, just as he has done previously at the World Championship and UK Championship.

"He is the benchmark in our game, and I said in the build-up I would find out where my game is at against him because he is the benchmark and he plays at a level we all aspire to," he said.

"His whole season has been phenomenal, and to get past him is something special."

O'Sullivan, in front of his home crowd in London, got off to a fast start with a break of 75 to clinch the first frame, but Allen quickly settled.

He compiled successive breaks of 65, 115 and 85 to hold a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval and hardly missed a ball.

O'Sullivan's confidence seemed to lapse after the break, but he was hardly given a sniff by Allen, who moved 5-1 ahead thanks to a nerveless long red.

And, despite a late wobble, he got the job done and will now play either two-time winner John Higgins or World No.15 Ryan Day for a place in the final.

"I thought when I was 4-1 up he (O'Sullivan) cracked a little," Allen added. "I played very well to go 5-1 up, it was not quite the way I envisaged getting over the line but I was a bit nervous, and it is a big match playing Ronnie.

"I felt over the whole match I was the better player, and I put him under pressure early doors. My safety was good and my potting was good but that is where you have to be at against Ronnie.

"If you don't play near your best you will get beat, but luckily I played well."

O'Sullivan said it was a relief to lose after feeling ill all week and poured doubt over his World Championship participation.

The Rocket complained he was feeling dizzy during his first-round win against Marco Fu and said he is unlikely to play in Sheffield later this year.

"I know people did not take me seriously but I probably will miss this year's World Championship," he said. "I come back to snooker for different reasons but it is a time-passer for me.

"I want to try and get out of snooker as quickly as I can. I play because I have some snooker fans that love to watch me play.

"But it is better I do a month in Australia with my TV show Hustle because I would find it hard being home and watching and not being part of it."

• Watch the London Masters LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Neil Robertson, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.

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