SNOOKER: Mark Allen knocked out of Masters

Mark Allen chalks his cue during his match against Barry Hawkins.
Mark Allen chalks his cue during his match against Barry Hawkins.

Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen was denied a place in the semi-finals of the Masters at Alexandra Palace after losing 6-2 to Barry Hawkins.

Allen, who knocked out defending champion Shaun Murphy in round one, began brilliantly with a century in the opening frame.

But Hawkins took control with a run of four frames in a row and from then on a match against either Judd Trump or Neil Robertson was never in doubt.

This week has been a real breakthrough for the 36-year-old from Kent, who had never previously won a match at the Masters.

Meanwhile, Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he is not confident with his game despite beating Mark Selby to reach the last four.

O’Sullivan is back on the big stage after eight months away and battled to a 6-5 victory over Mark Williams in round one.

The five-time world champion was never behind in a 6-3 win over Selby at Alexandra Palace, which he completed with an incredible clearance.

Four breaks over 50 helped O’Sullivan into a 3-1 lead and a break of exactly 100 put him 4-2 up at the interval.

Both men knew the seventh frame was crucial and made mistakes as a result, but it was O’Sullivan that crossed the finish line.

Selby mounted a fightback by winning the eighth frame and looked poised to make it 5-4 when he compiled a break of 70.

But O’Sullivan cleared the table with a 73 and will play either old rival John Higgins or world champion Stuart Bingham in the semi-finals.

Reflecting on his clearance, O’Sullivan told BBC2: “It was a good first red. Under pressure it was good but I was never going to refuse a shot.

“We’ve had a bit of grudge and needle over the years and I have probably taken it personally, but not any more because I know he’s a great player.

“I don’t feel great but I’m trying to kid myself that I’m confident. You’re not going to win this tournament by playing negative, playing bad. I need to try to find something.”