x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Allen ends four-year wait with his maiden title

Irishman Mark Allen crushed Ding Junhui 6-0 in the final of the Wuzhou International Group Jiangsu Classic, then expressed the hope that his victory would be "the start of things to come"

Irishman Mark Allen crushed Ding Junhui 6-0 in the final of the Wuzhou International Group Jiangsu Classic, then expressed the hope that his victory would be "the start of things to come". The young Ulsterman yesterday took just 70 minutes to end the reign of the local favourite and defending champion at the Wuxi Stadium with a fine performance to win the first professional title of his four-year career.

Allen flew into a 3-0 lead with breaks of 64, 71 and 74, then stole the fourth frame by potting the green, brown and blue. He continued his dominance after the interval, winning the fifth by clearing from yellow to pink and adding the next with a 58 to win the £20,000 (Dh117,000) top prize in the 12-man invitation event. "I started very well to go 3-0 up and stayed solid after the interval," said 23-year-old Allen, who showcased his explosive style in reaching the semi-finals at the recent World Championship.

"Although this isn't a ranking tournament, it still means a lot to me to get my first professional title under my belt." The world No 11 looked likely to be eliminated when he lost two of his first three matches in the round-robin stage. "I was looking at flights home at that stage," he admitted. "But I managed to win my last two games 2-0 [against Li Hang and Peter Ebdon] then a few other results went my way to put me into the semi-finals.

"From that point anything extra was a bonus and I had a feeling that the tournament was meant to be mine. I played well in the second half of the match against Shaun Murphy in the semi-finals and carried that into today. Allen defeated Murphy 5-2 winning two of the last three frames with breaks of 72 and 88 having led 2-1 with runs of 86 and 61. sports@thenational.ae