Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Mark Allen marches into the last eight

Antrim's Mark Allen is through to the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix in Glasgow.

He saw off a stiff second round challenge from Jamie Cope who at one stage led the best of nine contest 3-2

Allen, a semi-finalist at the Crucible earlier this year, started well, to take the opening couple of frames only for Cope to come back and level before moving a frame ahead in the best of nine encounter.

However, breaks of 51 and then 60, when he had trailed 56-0, saw Allen move 4-3 ahead before wrapping up the match in frame eight.

Defending Grand Prix champion John Higgins held his nerve to see off world number one Ronnie O'Sullivan 5-4 during a classic encounter in front of his home crowd.

The two giants were paired together in the unusual unseeded draw at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, and it proved to be a tense encounter.

World number one O'Sullivan led 4-3, only to miss a great chance to clinch the match in a nervous eighth frame.

Higgins, though, showed no fear in the decider, producing a break of 94 to book a place in the quarter-finals.

"I thought I was all over the place and felt really on edge," Higgins said.

"I felt if Ronnie upped it a bit, I would get beat.

"I missed a few, but that is what it has been like when I have played Ronnie recently. People expect a high-quality match, but sometimes you do not produce."

O'Sullivan, who claimed last month's Shanghai Masters title, had opened up with a break of 131.

However, Higgins fought back to lead 2-1 capitalising after O'Sullivan missed a red to the middle pocket.

A break of 63 saw 'The Rocket' tie the match, before in frame five he was allowed back to the table following 62 from Higgins.

The Essex player went on to clear the colours, sinking the pink somewhat fortunately off two cushions to lead 3-2 at the mid-session interval.

In the deciding frame higgins split the reds and went on to make a 94 break which sealed O’Sullivan’s fate.

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