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Masters 2019: Mark Allen knocked out by Luca Brecel in round one

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2019 Dafabet Masters
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 13-20 January
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Reigning champion Mark Allen is out of the Masters following a 6-5 defeat by world number 14 Luca Brecel in the tournament’s opening match in London.

The Northern Irishman trailed 3-1 at the mid-session interval at Alexandra Palace but levelled with a 136 break.

Belgian Brecel, 23, hit back with a 140 in a high-quality match that also saw seven half-century breaks.

World number six Allen knocked in a 99 to level at 5-5 but an error in the decider allowed Brecel to advance.

Allen, 32, knocked a red into a middle pocket but the cue ball cannoned off the green into the opposite pocket.

“It was so tough to get over the line in the last frame, but I managed to play a few safeties and [Allen] made a mistake,” Brecel, who moves into the quarter-finals, told BBC Sport.

“Last year, I was always doing the right things but maybe not trying hard enough.

“This year, I said to my girlfriend and my parents that 2019 was going to be a new mindset, dedicated, just snooker and nothing else.

“It’s working and I’ve have been playing well the past few months.”

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Allen, from Antrim, won three titles last year, including his maiden Triple Crown title when he beat Kyren Wilson in last year’s Masters final.

He narrowly missed the chance to win a second Triple Crown trophy in December when he was defeated by Ronnie O’Sullivan in the UK Championship final.

“Luca deserved it. I’ve got no complaints,” Allen told BBC Sport.

“I didn’t miss many pots but my long game just wasn’t there today and that’s how he won. I was hoping for a chance in the last frame but it didn’t quite come along.

“I felt like I had him in trouble in the final frame, but I think that was the story of the match.

“I don’t feel I did that much wrong other than a few errors over distance. You get punished highly at this level and Luca has proved there that he is a top-16 player all day long. He played really good stuff.”

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