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Allen Sees Off ‘Two-Cue’ Brecel

Luca Brecel bizarrely used two cues during his first round clash at the Dafabet Masters, but to no avail as he lost 6-3 to Mark Allen.

Belgium’s Brecel has been struggling to find a cue he likes after losing his own at the International Championship in November, and he entered the arena at Alexandra Palace carrying two cues, using each of them at various times over the course of the match.

Allen also had a unique moment as he was accidentally introduced as Mark Williams by stand-in master of ceremonies Dennis Taylor. Like Williams, who beat Mark Selby earlier in the day, Allen progressed to the quarter-finals in London and he’ll now face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Marco Fu on Thursday afternoon.

World number eight Allen lost the opening frame tonight then took three of the next four with breaks of 86, 135 and 72. Masters debutant Brecel won the sixth with a 32 clearance, including an excellent shot on the final pink, to make it 3-3. And he had a chance in frame seven but was unlucky to go in-off when potting the final brown, trailing by 19 points.

Allen took advantage to regain the lead at 4-3 then eased through the last two frames, closing with a run of 120.

“I felt I was the better player for most of the match,” said Northern Ireland’s Allen, who is making his tenth consecutive appearance at the Masters but has never reached the final. “I wanted to put Luca under pressure at the start because it was his debut here. As the match went on I let myself relax a bit and scored well.

Two cues are better than one? Not for Brecel tonight.

“I have never seen anyone bring two cues into a match before. At first I thought he was trying to get into my head, but I was chatting to him at the interval and he told me the problems he’s been having with his cue situation.”

Asked about his introduction, Allen joked: “I won’t let Dennis forget about that for a while! I don’t envy anyone doing that job because it’s not easy when you’re live and mistakes happen. But that won’t stop me winding Dennis up.”