Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Long live the King

Mark King is one of the game's real fighters – but his great win against Mark Allen was more than just a good old scrap.

The Chelmsford potter really took the match to the Ulsterman and, in the end, produced his very best in the pivotal spell of the match.
Picture by Monique Limbos

King looked like he'd let his first session lead slip when he trailed 8-6, but it appears he saved his best until last. He won four frames on the spin including breaks of 74, 89 and 81 to seal a huge win against one of the favourites for the title.

This is King's 14th appearance at the Crucible and this win will probably rank up there as the very best. He was hitting the ball beautifully by the end of the match and always made Allen pay for his mistakes.

Not many people gave King a prayer in this match but although his fighting attributes and dedication to the game haven't changed, maybe his attitude has. Coming into the match as such a heavy underdog, King decided to take the pressure off himself, not expect too much and instead enjoy the experience.

King's list of scalps in major ranking events this season is impressive. He adds to Allen to a list of players he has beaten including Mark Williams, Stephen Maguire and Ding Junhui.

In a recent interview with Mark he told me he finds it frustrating that whenever he beats one of the top stars, the focus is on how poorly they have played, not how well he has. That is sometimes a natural reactions to a shock, but King was well worth this victory. He took the game to Allen, asked him plenty of questions and he didn't have the answers.

Allen will be mightily disappointed with his defeat. This is the second year in succession he has been beaten in the first round at the Crucible, but he was very gracious in defeat.

There are so many exciting young players at the World Championship this year. Everyone is talking about the new generation and the new wave of players breaking into the big time, but this was one for the older, more experienced players.

The King lives on.

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