Mark Allen Makes World Championship Quarter Final After Bingham Rout

Allen beat Stuart Bingham 13-4 at the Crucible.
13:56, 22 Apr 2023

Mark Allen is into just a second World Championship quarter-final in 12 years after completing a 13-4 rout of Stuart Bingham at the Crucible.

The 37-year-old from Antrim has been the player of the season – winning three major titles including the UK Championship as well as reaching another final.

World No3 Allen, who has also shed six stones of weight since this same event 12 months ago, knows he may never have a better chance of claiming a first world title.

And he admitted that a bracelet made by his five-year-old daughter Harleigh was both an inspiration and source of comfort in the emphatic victory over former world champion Bingham.

Allen, who has also won the Northern Ireland Open and the World Grand Prix this term, said: “It was great for me having this bracelet on for me, made for me by my daughter Harleigh, to look at.

“When you make a mistake out there you look down and it reminds you where your priorities are. That helped take pressure off and I played really well in that second session to win it 7-1.

“It just says ‘Dad’ on it, with lots of pinks and purples, not normally my favourite colours. But she and my partner Sarah made it for me. It helped me keep my mind at rest, and give happy thoughts.

“I have come here this year with the attitude that I want to enjoy it more, the whole experience of playing and being at the Crucible.

“I have often put too much pressure on myself to do well. I still want to do well, but I want to enjoy it all too for a change.

“And I think that has already paid dividends. Look, I am only in the quarter-finals and I don’t want to get too carried away. But that is already better than I have been doing.

“It’s my first time in the quarter-finals at the Crucible for five years, and before that it had been a while too.

“You are playing for a world title so of course there is pressure, but 13 breaks over 50 in a best-of-25 frame match…I am obviously doing something right.

“I have confidence in my results, though not necessarily in my performances. To win the World Championships I need to be better than what I have shown during the season.

“You can build momentum here. I’d like to show what I am capable of but as long as I am still here then I have a chance. It’s about conserving energy, and I have had two comfortable wins.”

Allen had eased past Chinese debutant Fan Zhengyi in the first round by a score of 10-5, as he seeks to keep his nervous power dry until the greater challenges that could lie ahead.

He roared into an early 3-0 lead against Bingham, who actually performed creditably to get back to just 5-3 adrift helped by breaks of 134 and 62. The ultra-consistent Allen, in those eight frames, made six breaks of between 61 and 91.

But in was in Friday’s second session that the match was won, as Allen streaked away with a magnificent seven frames on the spin – helped by breaks of 53, 75, 63, 65, 97 and 51 before Bingham at least avoided defeat with a session to spare by making it 12-4 with a brave and defiant run of 103.

But it took just one frame to wrap things up on Saturday morning as Allen rattled in another break of 68 to surge over the line.

The stars so seem to be aligning for Allen this season to have a real crack at the big one for the first time since he got to the semi-finals early in his career in 2009.

Allen has been slightly stung by criticism from some TV pundits that his style this season, though bringing him the silverware, has been more pragmatic than in the past.

But there is no doubt that getting on top of most of his off-table problems, including the consequences of bankruptcy and also divorce and child support issues, has left Allen in a far better place to punch his new lesser weight on the green baize.

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