Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen produced a sensational recovery as he fought back from 6-1 down to beat Ding Junhui 10-7 and win his first UK Championship.
Ding, 35, looked in complete control with three centuries in the opening seven frames on his way to what would have been a fourth UK success.
But Allen took the last frame of the afternoon session and the first six in the evening as the match swung around.
Ding made 105 in the 15th frame, but Allen clinched a sensational success.
The match, which did not finish until 23:30 GMT, will be regarded as one of the most enthralling UK Championship finals in the 45-year history of the tournament.
“It’s absolutely amazing and I don’t really know how I have won that,” said Allen. “I’ve not played well most of the week, I didn’t play well in the first session and got punished.
“I hung in and secured the last frame and my first break of 60 [in the second session] I felt so good and started to score.
“At 6-6 I felt so confident. To beat Ding in the best of 19 frames match when being 6-1 down is one of my best-ever wins – he’s an absolute legend.
“I was struggling and I was just trying to stay as positive as possible. All I said was ‘can I win the next frame?’ and ultimately the answer is ‘yes’.
“I’m trying to leave my own legacy but I’m a long way from that at the moment. I’ve won two of the last three ranking tournaments and been in the final of the other one so I’m doing things right and that’s work hard so I will not change that.”
Allen, 36, had been declared bankrupt in May 2021 and previously said he was ‘spending the money as quickly as he earned it’, but this victory sees him collect the £250,000 top prize.
It continues a remarkable few months for him after he decided to change his life in the summer with an intensive fitness routine that saw him lose five stone in weight in a four-month period.
Since then he has now won back-to-back ranking events after taking the Northern Ireland Open last month, and also reaching the final of the British Open in October.
He is fifth in the world rankings and this was his second victory in a ‘Triple Crown’ event after lifting the 2018 Masters with victory over Kyren Wilson.
More to follow.
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