Allen fails to reach German Masters final

ANTRIM’S Mark Allen narrowly missed out on a dream start to 2022 when he was knocked out at the semi-final stage.

But’The Pistol’ acknowledged that the tournament underlined the changing demographics in the game.

Allen admits snooker’s established 30-something stars are ‘playing catch-up’ after the German Masters witnessed the youngest ranking final in 16 years.

China’s Zhao Xintong, still only 24, dominated 21-year-old compatriot Yan Bingtao to win the Berlin showpiece 9-0 on Sunday night.

It was Xintong’s second ranking title of the season after his victory at the UK Championship and just the third all-Asian final in the sport’s history, a potential sign of a shifting force towards the far East.

“I think the sport’s in good hands,” said Allen after losing to Bingtao in the semi-finals.

“It doesn’t say much for the rest of us in our mid-30s. We need to step up and be more consistent.

“That’s what Yan and especially Zhao Xintong have shown this season.

“The rest of us have to catch up.”

The local man added that he had ‘no complaints’ as he was playing ‘nowhere near my best’.

“I’m very disappointed because it was a good chance to go on and win the tournament,” he said.

“I can’t complain because I had more than enough chances. I struggled from start to finish.

“I got really edgy in the second frame and never really recovered.

“Nothing came easy for me. As much as the first three matches came naturally, everything was hard work out there.

“You get punished if you miss easy balls and I missed far too many.”

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