Mark Allen profile
World Championship 2014 - Mark Allen profile
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Name: Mark Allen
Date of birth: 22/02/86 (28)
World ranking: 14
Crucible best: Semi-final 2009
Mark Allen is no stranger to controversy and his outspoken comments about the game have cost him plenty in fines and reprimands.
However, after getting married a year ago he vowed to let his snooker do the talking - but his good intentions have not paid off and he has slipped down the world rankings to number 14 after starting the campaign at number seven.
A series of disappointing early exits have undermined his season, but there was a confidence boost when he appeared on course to successfully defend his World Open title in China.
He put out Mark Williams, Ricky Walden and John Higgins en route to reaching the last four, but was beaten by Shaun Murphy to end his bid of winning the title for the third successive year.
The Ulsterman has reached the semi-final and twice the quarter-finals in seven appearances at the Crucible, but has been knocked out in the first round in the past two years.
One of the best long potters in the game and a heavy scorer when among the balls, Allen certainly has the ability to make his mark in Sheffield and end what has been a disappointing season on a positive note.