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Allen lined up to tackle tricky test as O'Sullivan rockets through

By Paddy Smith

Mark Allen will need to be on top form when he begins his quest for the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix title against Anthony Hamilton at the Preston Guild Hall today.

Hamilton is fresh from victory in the German Masters on Sunday, when he beat Ali Carter 9-6 in Berlin to secure his first ever ranking title, and will be keen to stay in the winning groove against the Ulsterman in the £300,000 event.

The winner will face China's Liang Wenbo tomorrow for a place in the quarter-finals.

Ronnie O'Sullivan blasted through last night with a 4-2 victory over Yan Bingtao of China.

Shaun Murphy started the defence of his World Grand Prix title with an impressive 4-1 defeat of Michael Holt.

"It's a beautiful old trophy and to finally get my name on it last year was a great thrill," said Murphy.

"If you come back as defending champion everyone is shooting for you. I've prepared well and practised hard," he added.

"The Guild Hall is synonymous with the game, it's like the Crucible or the Wembley Conference Centre. I've played here a few times and it is a great venue for snooker."

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