Allen wins UK Championship after superb comeback against Ding


Mark Allen rallies from 6-1 down to defeat Ding Junhui 10-7 in UK Championship final in York; Northern Irishman claims eighth ranking title and second Triple Crown trophy after 2018 Masters; Ding misses out on a spot in 2023 Masters as fellow Chinese player Yan Bingtao clings on to place

Last Updated: 21/11/22 7:02am

Mark Allen recovered from 6-1 down to beat Ding Junhui 10-7 and win the UK Championship in York Mark Allen recovered from 6-1 down to beat Ding Junhui 10-7 and win the UK Championship in York

Mark Allen recovered from 6-1 down to beat Ding Junhui 10-7 and win the UK Championship in York

Mark Allen launched a remarkable comeback to beat Ding Junhui 10-7 in the final of the UK Championship and deny his opponent a spot in January’s prestigious Masters event at Alexandra Palace.

Allen trailed 6-1 during Sunday’s afternoon session in York but rallied to win seven frames on the spin to open up an 8-6 lead before clinching victory after Ding had claimed the 15th frame.

The 36-year-old took the winner’s cheque of £250,000 and his second ranking title of the season, having won his home event, the Northern Ireland Open, in October by dint of a 9-4 victory over Zhou Yuelong.

Allen had fought back from 5-3 down to beat Jack Lisowski 6-5 on the final black in an epic semi-final on Saturday and showed his grit again a day later as he recovered from a horror start against Ding.

The Ulsterman landed an eighth-ranking title and a second Triple Crown trophy, after winning the 2018 edition of The Masters.

Ding needed victory in the UK Championship to gatecrash the world’s top 16 and reach next year’s Masters, so his defeat means fellow Chinese player Yan Bingtao clings on to his place in that tournament.

Ding needed to win the UK Championship to qualify for January's Masters at Alexandra Palace Ding needed to win the UK Championship to qualify for January's Masters at Alexandra Palace

Ding needed to win the UK Championship to qualify for January’s Masters at Alexandra Palace

Speaking after his victory Allen said: “I don’t really know how I’ve done it. I didn’t play very well most of the week.

“I struggled from the start and Ding punished me heavily. I just scraped the last frame (of the afternoon session).

“I don’t know what happened (in the evening). The first frame was as good a break as I’d made all day – and all of a sudden I felt so good.

“I was struggling but I was trying to stay as positive as possible in my seat, which is something I’ve been working really hard on. I just kept saying to myself ‘can I win the next frame?’ and my answer was always ‘yes.’”

Ding, who swept Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-0 in the quarter-final earlier in the week, looked odds-on for a fourth UK Championship title when he dominated the afternoon session.

However, breaks of 79, 60, 93, 132, 56, 59 and 109 saw Allen win seven frames on the bounce before Ding stopped the rot with a break of 105, his fourth century of the match, to cut his deficit to 8-7.

Allen, though, would not be denied, taking the 16th frame and then edging the 17th after more than 40 minutes to continue an excellent season in which he also reached the final of the British Open.

Allen can now look forward to The Masters, where he will take on Barry Hawkins in the first round.

The Masters (January 8-15), first round draw

  • Mark Selby (ENG) v Zhao Xintong (CHN)
  • Judd Trump (ENG) v Ryan Day (WAL)
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan (ENG) v Luca Brecel (BEL)
  • John Higgins (SCO) v Jack Lisowski (ENG)
  • Neil Robertson (AUS) v Shaun Murphy (ENG)
  • Kyren Wilson (ENG) v Stuart Bingham (ENG)
  • Mark Allen (NI) v Barry Hawkins (ENG)
  • Mark Williams (WAL) v Yan Bingtao (CHN)

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