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Allen is on the fast track towards Grand Prix success

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By Paddy Smith

Mark Allen will take on Liang Wenbo today for a place in the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix at the Preston Guild Hall after crushing Anthony Hamilton 4-0.

Hamilton was very much the form player having won the German Masters in Berlin on Sunday - his first ranking tournament after over a quarter of a century as a professional - beating Ali Carter 9-6 in the final.

But the Ulsterman was on top throughout and took control with breaks of 55, 85 and 78, and finished the job impressively with a clearance of 140.

The Antrim potter's hopes of progressing further in the competition were given another shot in the arm when world champion Mark Selby lost 4-3 to Martin Gould yesterday.

Allen was seeded to meet Selby in the last eight of the competition but the Jester from Leicester failed to recover from a shaky start where he lost the opening two frames.

Selby replied with an 87 only for Gould to move within a frame of victory with a quality clearance of 142.

Selby hit back though, edging the next frame and taking the contest to a decider with a clearance of 64.

However, Gould maintained his composure and - after a rerack - made sure of his place in the last 16, helped by a good break of 54.

Afterwards he said: "It's always a big win - he's the comeback king. I felt really good out there all match.

"I'm slowly but surely learning to be a fast starter - sometimes I'm slow out of the blocks," added the 35-year-old, who plays Masters runner-up Joe Perry in the last 16 today.

Elsewhere there were 4-2 wins for Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui - against Ricky Walden and Yu Delu respectively.

Ronnie O'Sullivan is Robertson's opponent in the second round today and the Australian said: "It's going to be nice to go into a game where no one expects me to win."

Belfast Telegraph

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