Saturday 24 February 2018

'There are still a few idiots out there' - Mark Allen slams crowd after beating Ronnie O'Sullivan

Mark Allen
Mark Allen

Gareth Hanna

Mark Allen took great delight in silencing a few 'idiots' in the Alexandra Palace crowd and he smashed past defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Dafabet Masters quarter-final.

The Antrim man came back from losing the opening frame to win 6-1, potting his 41st century of the season in the process.

While he concedes that "any win against Ronnie is a big win", it wasn't just beating arguably the sport's greatest ever player that made him smile.

Speaking on the BBC coverage of the event, Allen pinpointed a few members of the crowd that he had to overcome.

"There are still a few idiots out there," he explained. "I'm on my shot and they're shouting out 'Come on Ronnie' but it's part and parcel of playing Ronnie.

"I played a brown in one of the frames, coming down on the red frame ball, it's touch and go if I'm going to be on it and an idiot shouts out 'keep running'. Shut your mouth, I'm trying to play a game of snooker.

"That's not a reflection on Ronnie at all. I love it, it gets me up for it. I potted the red and looked up at him as if to say 'is that all you've got?'"

Allen restricted O'Sullivan to only 53 points throughout the six consecutive frames he won, claiming further breaks of 85 and 81 himself in frames four and five.

"I find against Ronnie I play more aggressively because you're going to get fewer chances. You have to impact the game in some way," he said.

"Not that I'm going to bully Ronnie because he's the king at it but you nearly have to be like that. Ronnie is the benchmark in our game. I'm very happy. I scored very well up to 4-1 but I sort of fell over the line in the end."

Allen has never won any of the Triple Crown tournaments; the Master, the UK Championship or the World Championship. But the 31-year-old is hoping he's closer than ever to that illusive success.

"I'm not getting carried away," he said. "It's one match and there will be two more very tough ones if I'm going to win the tournament. I came here to win and if I go home without the trophy, I'm very disapppointed. I haven't won a tournament in two years so I want to put that right."

Beaten O'Sullivan, meanwhile, told BBC Five Live that Allen deserved the victory.

"I didn't give him very much to make him struggle," he said. "You have to give people credit. It was a fantastic performance and he must be feeling amazing."

Allen beat Luca Brecel in the opening round and is the first player to confirm his semi-final spot.

Belfast Telegraph

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