Allen bows out of Welsh Open at hands of Ali Carter

Mark Allen
Mark Allen

Mark Allen will have a couple of days off and week of practice before packing his bags and flying off from Ulster again, this time to defend his Haikou World Open title in China.

The 28-year-old had no complaints about going out of the BetVictor Welsh Open in Newport to tough Essex potter Ali Carter, who won the Welsh title in 2009, but at least it will give the Antrim ace the chance of a quick break before flying to the Far East.

It looked promising that Allen, who had beaten amateur Sydney Wilson and Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham in the first two rounds, would make the quarter-final cut as he lead 2-1 at one stage.

The left-hander put in solid breaks of 53 and 50 and, while they were not frame-winners, it put Carter under the cosh.

But the Colchester world number 17 was the first of the real big hitters that Allen had faced in the Welsh tournament, which started last Wednesday and, when Carter put his foot down, there was not a lot that the Northern Ireland ace could do about it.

Carter from 2-1 down, Carter struck home breaks of 94, 58 and 70 to take a 4-2 victory. It now leaves Allen with four tournaments left in the season, including the key BetFred World Championships in Sheffield, to secure a morale-boosting competition run which has seen him reach just one quarter-final - the UK Championships - so far.

Allen said: “From 2-1, he played very well. There was not a great deal I could have done. I played one or two bad safeties and that was it.

“I didn’t do enough to stamp my authority on the match and Ali did. It is just one of those things.”

The World Open, however, has been a happy hunting ground for the Ulsterman.

He has not lost in the tournament in two years and will be aiming for a hat-trick of victories when the tournament begins on March 10.

“I’m looking forward to that and going there to defend my trophy.

“We leave on Friday so I will have a day or two off and then back to practice, no different from any other tournament.”

Meanwhile, home favourite Mark Williams produced a notable upset at the Welsh Open with a 4-3 win over world number one Neil Robertson.

Williams was world champion in 2000 and 2003 but has fallen to number 18 in the world rankings.

Williams said: “It was an excellent win for me, one of my best in a long time. “

I probably made more mistakes than him, he looked like a Rolls-Royce when he got in the balls and I looked like an Austin Metro, but I held myself together.”