Mark Allen has said his dream is to play in front of a capacity crowd in the World Championship final, and recalled the moment he was blanked by Ken Doherty on his Crucible debut.
Allen powered into the second round with a 10-2 win over Lyu Haotian, setting up a potential meeting with Mark Selby.
The victory over Lyu came in front of a Crucible at one-third capacity, with the World Championship a test event on the roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions.
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Allen was thrilled to be playing in front of spectators once again, saying it had been hard to compete in empty arenas, and is relishing the prospect of packed houses.
“It is great to have any sort of fans back,” Allen told Eurosport. “We want to play in packed arenas. So if you can get through a few rounds, it is 50% for quarters and semis and 100% for the final. That would be the dream. This is why we play.
“It has not been a lot of fun this year, as much as World Snooker have done an amazing job, it has not been a lot of fun playing behind closed doors.”
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Allen was beaten by Jamie Clarke in the first round last year, after which he was criticised for being too friendly to his opponent who was making his Crucible bow.
The Pistol says he will not change his affable nature, and recalled his Crucible debut for why he acts in the way he does.
“For me, I feel like I am a friendly guy,” he said. “I am not going to be the opposite of who I am out there.
I want to win, don’t get me wrong, and I want to try my best. When it is my shot I am zoned in.
“If I say 'nice shot' or 'good clearance' it does not upset my rhythm. It takes two seconds to be nice to someone.
“I have a lasting impression from my first time at the Crucible. Ken Doherty made a 135 break to go 7-7 on my debut. He was under all sorts of pressure and I said 'good break' to him and he did not give me a response.
“It takes two seconds to say thanks. Me and Ken get on well now, but I was fired up then from 7-7 and beat him 10-7.”
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