Allen stays on cue to retain his China title
Published 01/03/2013 | 04:20
Mark Allen has in the past been openly critical of China, but it has generally proved a happy hunting ground for the Ulsterman.
Allen won his first major ranking tournament – the Haikou World Open – there 12 months ago and had previously also triumphed in the Wuxi Classic.
The 27-year-old continues the defence of his World Open crown today against Ricky Walden – 5-4 winner against new Welsh Open champion Stephen Maguire – with a place in tomorrow's semi-finals and a crack at the £85,000 top prize at stake .
The Antrim cueman had runs of 82, 61 and 73 in battling from 2-0 behind to overcome Robert Milkins 5-2 yesterday, a victory that followed on from a 5-2 success against Ryan Day.
"For the first three and a half frames I was a bit embarrassed to be out there," said Allen.
"I don't think I have played that badly since I was 14. It got to the stage where I didn't think I could pot anything.
"I'm proud of myself for the way I dug in and managed to make a few breaks.
"I'll need to improve massively in the next round but as long as I'm still here I've got a chance."
Meanwhile, world number one Judd Trump broke sweat but it was only due to the heating as he brushed aside Nigel Bond 5-1 to set up a last-eight tussle with Matthew Stevens.
The only complaint from Trump surrounded the venue on Hainan Island where the heating made for uncomfortable conditions.
"I played pretty well," he said. "Considering the conditions are tough here – and it's very hot – it was one of the best games I have played.
"It was very warm in the arena but you just have to get on with it. My form is getting better."
Stevens was an impressive 5-3 winner over 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy.
World number two Mark Selby will take on Australian Neil Robertson for a place in the semi-finals. Selby fended off Barry Hawkins 5-1 and Robertson toppled Graeme Dott 5-0.
John Higgins had a surprisingly emphatic 5-0 win over Stuart Bingham and next meets China's leading player Ding Junhui, who beat Hong Kong's Marco Fu 5-2.