Cham­pion Allen hit by early Masters knock-out

Sunderland Echo - - Sport -

Mark Allen crashed out at the first hur­dle in the de­fence of his Dafa­bet Masters ti­tle af­ter los­ing to Luca Bre­cel in a fi­nal­frame 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.

The Bel­gian 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.

Bre­cel 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.

Luca Bre­cel.

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