Allen knocks out holder Murphy at Masters

Mark Allen.

Mark Allen.

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Mark Allen made the best possible start to his attempt to win the Dafabet Masters title by knocking out holder Shaun Murphy on the opening day of the tournament.

The Antrim player beat Murphy 6-4 in his opening hurdle at the Alexandra Palace.

The game will be remembered for an unusual incident where Murphy forfeited the sixth frame by missing a red three times when he was not snookered.

And that fortunate break gave Allen the impetus to go on and avenge his defeat by Murphy at the semi-final stage of the same tournament last year.

Allen said: “Shaun is the defending champion here under a lot of pressure and it was a big match for me playing him on the big stage. I’m very happy with the way I played, I scored heavily, took my chances well and got over the line in the end.

“I try my best in every match I play and every tournament I play. I’ll look back at the end of my career knowing that I gave everything out there. It’s very nice to still be in the tournament and with a chance to win the trophy.”

On the forfeited frame incident, Allen added: “It happened to me in China when Mark Williams did the same thing. It’s a very unusual situation for any top player to do that because I’m in the mode where if I miss it twice I make sure I hit it the third time, even if I leave something on.

“I’d always rather make my opponent work. I’d rather have given them a whack, hoped for the best and maybe fluked one. These things happen. Shaun will probably be kicking himself for it – but I’ll take it because you don’t get many easy frames on tour.”

Allen will be pleased to have continued his excellent form in the latter part of 2015, when he won the Bulgarian Open and reached the final of the Champion of Champions event.

He will play either Barry Hawkins or Joe Perry in the quarter-finals on Thursday night.