'He's doing Selby at his own game' – O'Sullivan explains Allen edge

Ronnie O’Sullivan has explained the edge that Mark Allen has displayed so far as he has been “doing Mark Selby at his own game” in their semi-final clash at the World Snooker Championship.

Allen happily joined Selby in the weeds to grind out a 5-3 lead in the opening evening session with some snooker that was so gritty and defiant it almost looked as though he had traded places with the perma-stoic Jester from Leicester.
Selby, who is the overwhelming favourite for the title in Sheffield following Ronnie O’Sullivan’s shock exit to Luca Brecel, compiled the only century of a pretty dour session in the opening frame but ultimately found himself out-foxed by his opponent.

Allen impressed O’Sullivan, who was in the Eurosport studio, with his willingness to wade into the long grass with the four-time world champion and even “getting Selby out of it” in terms of his tactical play and doughty mindset.

Asked about Allen’s improvements in his mental and physical strength, O’Sullivan said: “Since he lost his weight he has made a conscious effort, and that is one of the answers.

“The other answer was to work with a psychologist. He feels that it has really helped his game. I just think he started off great early in the season and played fantastic snooker.

“Some of the tournaments he has won he has not played great, but he has played well in spells. So even if he does play badly in a session, I can’t see him losing it 6-2. I can’t see it happening.

“Selby might get in his head, but I can’t see it happening. He is used to winning really ugly. When he played Trump in a final [World Grand Prix] he shut him out and did a number on him.

‘That could have won him the frame’ – Allen deliberates, plays brilliant safety

“He kind of seems to have the answers and he is getting Selby out of it a bit, really. Selby is normally getting other players out of it, dictating that.

“He is actually getting Selby out of it. He is doing Selby at his own game – and he looks like he is really enjoying it as well.

“It is like he is thinking ‘I will do five days of this as well, 10 days of this, as long as you like, mate!'”

Allen will look to build on his two-frame advantage when the pair resume their battle in the afternoon session on Friday with a morning and evening session to follow on Saturday.

The Northern Irishman is yet to claim a maiden World Championship title at the Crucible, while Selby has triumphed on four occasions: 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021.

Selby calls Allen ‘boring’ after astonishing safety exchange

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