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Pistol On Cloud Nine

Mark Allen

Allen has not reached the quarter-finals since 2011

Mark Allen won nine consecutive frames in a 10-3 rout of Ryan Day to move into the last 16 of the Betfred World Championship.

Allen started slowly this morning and went 3-1 behind, but stormed back to take the next nine frames with top breaks of 67, 81, 101, 63, 54, 58 and 92. He now meets Barry Hawkins in the second round.

Northern Ireland’s Allen showed a high level of consistency in the first half of the current season, reaching four finals and winning the Paul Hunter Classic. He hasn’t reached the same heights in the second half of the campaign, but today showed the break-building class that took him to the semi-finals at the Crucible in 2008.

“I felt good and scored well,” said world number 12 Allen, nicknamed the Pistol. “The turning point was winning the fifth frame after Ryan had a chance to go 4-1 up. After that I never looked back. He seemed edgy which was weird because he was the better player early on. He missed a lot of chances so even though I won nine frames in a row, I only really played my C game and I can get a lot better.

I was scoring well but I need to work on my safety because later in the tournament I’ll need to be better in that department.

“I don’t think many players will want to play me. Barry Hawkins has a good record here but I beat him 13-12 a few years ago.”

Allen was on the adjacent table this morning when Ding Junhui failed to notice that he was on for a possible 147. He added: “I couldn’t believe it – I said to Ryan ‘what’s he doing?’ Even in practice I always know when I’m on a maximum, and especially in a tournament when there’s money up for grabs.”

In a repeat of the 2000 world final, Matthew Stevens surged into a 7-2 lead over fellow Welshman Mark Williams. A scrappy opening frame went to Williams then Stevens took the next three with breaks of 111, 57 and 96. Williams pulled one back with a 65 then Stevens went 4-2 ahead with a 51.

Frame seven lasted 36 minutes and came down to the colours, Stevens potting blue and pink to snatch it. And the next followed a similar pattern as Williams missed the final green and Stevens took advantage for 6-2. Williams had a chance to clear from 47-0 down in the last of the session but missed the last red to a baulk corner and his opponent went five frames up overnight. Williams will need to draw on memories of that 2000 final, when he came from 13-7 down to win 18-16. They resume on Wednesday at 2.30pm.

Stevens

Williams and Stevens shared a few jokes in between frames.