Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Allen cruises to first pro title

Mark Allen hammered Ding Junhui 6-0 in the final of the Wuzhou International Jiangsu Classic in China on Sunday to secure his first professional title.

The 23-year-old from Antrim blazed into a commanding 3-0 lead with breaks of 64, 71 and 74.

He took the fourth and fifth frames on the colours and finished with a 58 to win the 12-man invitation event.

"Although it's not a ranking event, it still means a lot to me to get my first professional title," said Allen.

The World Championship semi-finalist was in blistering form as he brushed aside the disappointingly weak challenge of defending champion Ding at the Wuxi Stadium in Beijing.

Allen was on the verge of elimination at the group stage when he lost two of his first three matches, 2-0 to Ryan Day and 2-1 against Ding.

But 2-0 wins over Peter Ebdon, Li Hang and Stephen Hendry saw him into the semi-finals by virtue of winning a single frame more than Day.

Allen made the decider after defeating Shaun Murphy 5-2 on Saturday.

"I was looking at flights home after the early defeats," admitted Allen.

Mark Allen

"But I managed to win my last two games 2-0 and a few other results went my way.

"Anything extra would be a bonus and I had a feeling that the tournament was meant to be mine.

"I played well in the second half of the semi-final against Shaun Murphy and carried that into the final."

"It's been a long season and I came here very sharp, especially after the confidence I got by getting to the semi-finals at Sheffield.

"Having won this tournament, I'll go into next season feeling very good.

"I've shown that I can handle myself on the big stage and I hope that this title is the start of things to come."

Mark Selby made a 147 break earlier in the tournament but still lost his group match against Joe Perry.

It is a first maximum in competition for the Leicester cueman.

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