MARK Allen believes his game is in good enough shape to land the Betfair Masters snooker title.
The Antrim ace takes on defending champion Neil Robertson on Thursday with a place in the semi-finals of the prestigious competition at stake, at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Allen cruised to a 6-2 win over Mark Davis in Sunday’s opening round
It was a welcome victory for Allen, hadn’t won a match in one of the ‘big three’ BBC events since reaching the final of the UK Championship 13 months ago.
Allen, who reached the Masters semi-finals two years ago, made a blistering start against Davis with a 136 total clearance in the opening frame.
Davis, appearing in the event for the first time since 2003, hit back to win two of the next three frames with a top run of 62 to make it 2-2 at the interval.
Allen then took control as breaks of 79 and 42 put him 4-2 ahead. He took a scrappy seventh frame on the colours before sealing victory in the next with an 80.
“I’m pretty pleased to get through.
“I played very well in parts and OK in other parts.
“There’s still room for improvement but it’s nice to be in the quarter-finals now.
“I thought I was very unlucky to only be two-all after the first four frames.
“I thought I had dominated the first four frames but got a few wee bad kisses going into the pack and things like that.
“I think it turned around after the interval – I got a few wee nudges that I hadn’t ben getting earlier on but I was still playing the way I had been earlier.
“When you’re at two each and playing pretty well, you’re thinking ‘what am I going to have to do to pull away’.”
Allen is in confident mood ahead of the clash with Robertson.
“Over the past number of years I’ve improved – I keep improving every year.
“Consistency has always been my biggest problem – on my day I’m capable of beating anyone if I play well.
“Neil one of the top players in the world. He’s in the top four now and he’s probably going to stay there for a long time.
“He’s one of the best match players, his long potting is really good, he scores heavily and his ‘bottle’ under pressure is second to none.
“I’ll have to play well but I’m still quietly confident.
“Myself and Terry Griffiths (coach) have been working on a few things over the past few days.
“I’m scoring really well so if I can keep focusing on what Terry is trying to get into my game it should stand me in good stead – it’s just a matter of sticking with it.
“He’s very important to me – I work very closely with him on the mental side of the game – he helps me prepare well and deal with things better when things go wrong in matches. I’d be lost without him,” admitted Allen.