Brave Allen braced for showdown with World No 1

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STREET Fighter Mark Allen is itching to put his demons behind him and land this year’s Betfred.com World Championship crown.

The brave Ulsterman is battling depression and seeing a sports psychiatrist for his problems, but that hasn’t stopped in from battling his way into the Crucible quarter-finals.

And after his second 13-12 final frame victory at snooker’s very own ‘Theatre of Dreams’, the Antrim potter is ready to rock again by dumping out new World No 1 Mark Williams in the next phase.

“I don’t do things easy, that’s for sure,” admitted Allen. “But I’ve definitely showed that I have bottle.

“My preparations were really poor and I didn’t really expect too much here, but I’ve always been a fighter. My family brought me up to be that way.

“That’s one thing that will never change no matter what happens on or off the table. I’m not going to give up in life or in snooker.

“You only get one chance in life - and you have to take it when you can.

“I just seem to be able to find something when the pressure is on, I can produce it went it counts.”

Allen fought back from 9-6 down to beat Welshman Matthew Stevens 10-9 in the first round of this season’s 17-day green baize marathon.

And then, having found himself 7-3 down to Englishman Barry Hawkins in their last 16 match, the 25-year-old left-hander showed tremendous courage to snatch another thrilling 13-12 win.

Allen kicks off his quarter-final clash with Williams tomorrow (Tuesday morning), with the pair playing eight frames before a further eight frames in the evening session. Then the pair are due to conclude their best-of-25 frame match on Wednesday morning. The winner could play triple world champions Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins in the semis, both of whom are favourite to get to the next stage.

Meanwhile, former Rotherham potter Shaun Murphy reduced Ronnie O’Sullivan’s lead to 9-7 after the second session of their second round clash yesterday while Leicester cueman Mark Selby holds a 12-4 advantage over seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry.