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Mark Allen is right on cue for victory over old rival

By Staff Reporter

Mark Allen can get on with his World Championship preparations safe in the knowledge that he is facing an opponent who can spring few surprises.

Allen was paired with Ryan Day in the first round draw, the pair having met on numerous occasions over the years with the Ulsterman holding the upper hand.

Allen will play both his sessions on Tuesday in the best-of-19 showdown, with the winner taking on either Barry Hawkins or Matthew Selt in the last 16 of the £1.25million event at the famous Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

World number 20 Day came through three tricky qualifying rounds at the Ponds Forge Centre in Sheffield, culminating in a 10-6 win over fellow Welshman Jak Jones on Wednesday.

Mark Selby begins his title defence tomorrow morning against Kurt Maflin, who beat the great Steve Davis in qualifying.

Six-time champion Davis, who made the draw, said: "Mark Selby is very balanced, so I don't expect him to have problems (in the first round)."

Favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan takes on debutant Craig Steadman, starting on Tuesday.

Joe Swail's conqueror Matthew Stevens takes on two-time champion Mark Williams, beginning on Tuesday.

Belfast Telegraph

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