Allen advances in scrappy first round encounter!!!
It’s safe to say, Mark Allen is playing the snooker of his life at the moment.
Having gone all the way in China at the beginning of last month to claim the International Championship and a cool £175,000 in prize money, it would have been a disappointment for the Antrim man to bow out of his home tournament, the NI Open, at the first round stage.
The World Number Six, who recorded the biggest victory of his career when picking up the Masters title in January, missed out on the chance of adding another of the sport’s most coveted prizes to his trophy cabinet, when falling to an imperious Ronnie O’Sullivan in Sunday’s UK Championship final in York.
Credit to the big man then, that he resisted the temptation to call time on the season, and instead this afternoon, could be found at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
With £70,000 on offer to the winner of this week’s Scottish Open event, Allen told Eurosport that he was keen to take advantage of the hot streak of form he’s enjoyed over the past twelve months. And why not?
A tough first round draw, saw The Pistol pitted against Liang Wenbo, who, after a year of relative underachievement, has slipped to 29th in the World. But coming off the back of a long run at the Barbican Centre last week, and a late finish on Sunday night, Allen made a sloppy opening to proceedings, dropping two of the first three frames to trail 2-1 in the race to four.
Breaks of 34 and 47 were enough to see him level things up in the fourth. What looked a sure century break, was curtailed at 72 in the fifth, by a poor positional shot, but was enough to grab the advantage, and left the 32 year-old needing only one more frame to progress to round two.
Frame six was bizarre, with Allen, rediscovering the sloppiness that had dogged him in the opening salvos. The Chinese player, however, was noticeably not carrying the same confidence as his opponent, and despite both players missing makeable pots, it was Allen who wrestled control of the table, cutting int he final red, before making the match safe with yellow and green.
Nervy. But he’s through to face either Wenbo’s compatriot, Chen Feilong, or hometown boy Fraser Patrick in the next round.