Mark Allen etches his name in history with first Masters title

Cheered on by a raucous fanbase, Allen accelerated away from Kyren Wilson during the evening session.

Mark Allen etches his name in history with first Masters title
Allen and Wilson prepare for battle (photo: Getty Images / John Patrick Fletcher)

Mark Allen won his ninth but most famous title to date as he defeated Kyren Wilson 10-7 in an epic Masters final.

Worthy finalists

Very few would have predicted these two players making the final but both had certainly earnt their places. Mark Allen had thrashed Ronnie O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals before continuing his confident form into the final four when he eased past John Higgins 6-3.

Meanwhile, Kyren Wilson's highlight of the week had come against Judd Trump in the semi-finals when it appeared he was on his way out of the competition. Wilson fell 5-2 behind before a nerveless response forced a final frame decider. Trump missed an ambitious double before 26-year old Wilson took his opportunity to set up a final between two players who had never won the competition.

Nothing to choose between the two in the afternoon session

Allen went into the final as the favourite through his higher ranking and eight titles to his name compared to Wilson's solitary Shanghai Masters. Yet many were suggesting an upset could be on the cards with Wilson coming into the contest on a wave of confidence after his victory against Trump.

It was Wilson who took the early advantage with a break of 65 before Allen responded immediately with a contribution of 62. Yet both players were showing signs of nerves, only for the underdog to keep his cool and win the third frame on the final black. However, the fourth was full of errors by the duo as they dragged out the longest frame of the week. Allen eventually came through to win by nine points and draw level ahead of the mid-session interval.

That moment appeared to be pivotal at the time, even at such an early stage in the 19-frame contest. Allen wrapped up a scrappy first frame after the break to take the lead for the first time. Yet Wilson is a steely competitor and finally found his range in frame six. He struck back with a break of 86 and then followed it with an 89 to edge ahead once again. However, a contribution of 52 in the last frame of the session was not enough to take a lead into the evening as Allen used his experience to tie the contest at 4-4.

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Allen fends off a determined Wilson to seal glory

It was deja-vu at the start of the final session of the week as Allen used his astute tactical game to edge ahead, only for Wilson to build a substantial break in the 80s to draw level again. Yet that moment sparked the turning point in the contest as Allen dominated the table for the next two frames. He made a break of 79 in the eleventh frame and followed it with the first century of the final, a contribution of 119, as Wilson went into the final interval without potting a ball for consecutive frames. Allen had created daylight with a two-frame lead for the first time in this unpredictable contest.

Wilson had been struggling with striking the cue ball too hard and the same issue haunted him again immediately after the interval. Allen took control after a second bite at the cherry resulted in a formulation of 50 to take him 8-5 ahead. Yet Wilson suddenly found a slice of luck. A mishit red landed in an unintended pocket to kickstart the fourteenth frame before he made a break of 73 to keep his dwindling hopes of winning the title alive.

Both players saw contributions in the 40s break down in the next frame but a missed long pot from Allen opened the table to Wilson who took advantage and brought the scoreline back to within one. Yet Wilson's momentum was soon thwarted as Allen quickly responded with a 69 formulation to edge one frame away from the £200,000 prize.

The Englishman went gung-ho in frame 17 but two missed long pots eventually opened up the opportunity Allen was looking for. The Northern Irishman held his nerve to seal his first major title and become the new Masters champion as Wilson broke down in tears after his moment in the spotlight slipped away.