MX23RW : Monday, February 18 14:45:21

Defending champion Mark Allen suffers first-round exit at Alexandra Palace

Defending champion Mark Allen suffers first-round exit at Alexandra Palace
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Brecel avenged his first round defeat to Allen at the same stage last year.

Mark Allen crashed out at the first hurdle in the defence of his Dafabet Masters title after losing to Luca Brecel in a final-frame decider at Alexandra Palace.

The Northern Irishman made a significant career breakthrough a year ago when he beat Kyren Wilson 10-7 in the final to claim his first Triple Crown trophy.

However, his bid for a repeat showing this year was over almost before it had begun as Brecel avenged his 6-3 defeat to Allen on his Masters debut in last year's first round.

Brecel racked up four half-century breaks and a superb 140 to dispatch the defending champion in what was an entertaining start to the 2019 tournament.

The 23-year-old started with a composed break of 75 before Allen hit back with a run of 67, only for Brecel to hit 50 in the next to lead 2-1.

The Belgian took the fourth frame – the only one not to feature a half-century break – to extend his lead to 3-1, but 32-year-old Allen restored parity with breaks of 96 and 136.

However, Brecel went one better with a brilliant 140 to move 4-3 ahead before the duo traded the next three with runs of 83, 88 and 99 to force a deciding 11th frame.

But Brecel held his nerve to knock in his fourth half-century to send Allen home early and set up a second-round clash with the winner between Ding Junhui and Jack Lisowski.

In the evening session, there was another final-frame thriller as Ryan Day dumped out two-time Masters champion John Higgins in their first-round clash.

Higgins edged a tense first frame when he cleared up – winning on the black – before racking up a 65 break to take a 2-0 lead.

The pair traded the next two frames as Higgins earned a 3-1 mid-session interval advantage, however Day stormed back with three successive breaks of 52, 111 and 83 to lead for the first time.

The Scotsman hit back to level at 4-4 but Day sunk a superb long pink and equally difficult black when 48-47 down to clinch the ninth frame, only for Higgins to force a decider.

However, Welshman Day held his nerve with a terrific match-high break of 128 to claim victory and set up a second-round match with Ronnie O'Sullivan or Stuart Bingham.


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Mark Allen of Northern Ireland looks on during his match against Michael Holt of England during day four of the The Dafabet World Snooker Championship on April 22, 2014
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