Why Mark Allen's 'all time low' has left his World Championship place in doubt
Dafabet Masters Champion Mark Allen is in danger of missing out on an automatic spot at next month's World Championships.
That was unthinkable two months ago when the Antrim man lifted his major trophy at Alexandra Palace.
But the hangover of that success has seen Allen crash out in the last 16 of the Welsh Open and the first round of the World Grand Prix.
Now he has lost out to Ding Junhui in the first round of the Players Championship - a result that could have severe consequences.
That's because the world ranking system has a two-year rolling system and so, the points gained from Allen's 2016 Players Championship win have now dropped out of his total. Replacing that with a first round exit, Allen is set to fall to 16th in the world.
The China Open is still to be played before the cut-off point for the World Championships, for which the world's top 16 qualify automatically.
The in-form Ryan Day, off the back of two successive tournament wins, is only £5,000 behind Allen in 17th spot and beat Mark Selby 6-3 at the Players Championship on Wednesday.
Stephen Maguire, who takes on Judd Trump on Wednesday, could also jump above Allen in the rankings.
Given all that, it's little wonder that Allen tweeted "All time low!! What dates qualifying start?" after his defeat on Monday.
All time low!! What dates qualifying start?— Mark Allen (@pistol147) March 19, 2018
Allen plays Noppon Saengkham in the first round in China. The China Open begins on Monday, April 2.
The World Championship qualifiers begin on April 11, with the main tournament starting on Saturday, April 21.
Belfast Telegraph Digital