Mark Allen wasted little time in wrapping up an emphatic 10-3 win over Mitchell Mann to reach the last 16 of the Betfred World Championship.
Allen has been one of the players of the season so far, having won the Bulgarian Open as well as the recent Players Championship in Manchester – his first full ranking title on British soil. He comes to the Crucible in arguably the best form of his career and seeking to improve his record in snooker’s biggest event, having reached the semi-finals just once – in 2009.
The Northern Irishman fired a century and six more breaks over 50 in a comfortable win over Crucible debutant Mann. Allen goes through to a second round meeting with Joe Perry or Kyren Wilson.
Word number seven Allen led 6-3 overnight and won the four frames he needed today with a top break of 67.
Allen said: “Mitchell put me under a lot of pressure early on in the match, and it could have been a lot closer. As a debutant at the Crucible it can be hard, especially when an established player starts to put you under pressure. In the second session he didn’t play his best, but I’m just happy to get through.
“When your opponent isn’t playing well it can be difficult, but I handled myself pretty well all the way through the match, and I was in a good place mentally.
“I just look forward to round two now, I’m in good shape, bring it on. It’s going to be tough no matter who I play, but if I can go out there and control myself the way I have been in the last few months, my game is in a good enough shape to not worry about my opponent.”
Birmingham’s Mann said: “I felt like I started great for my first time, but then I just seemed to lose a lot of faith in my cueing. I didn’t really want to take many balls on and that just shut my confidence right down.
“I didn’t feel shaky at all out there, I think I had my own demons on my technique so I’ve got to iron them out.
“It’s very different to the qualifiers. There’s no hiding out there and when your confidence is low then it’s not really a good place to play. I feel as though I could play well here by just getting more confidence.
“I need to work really hard at my game, my technique and my confidence is killing at the minute and it gets on top of you out there. Mark is one of the best players and he can adapt to the environment where for me it’s completely different.”