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Mark Allen relishing battles ahead

By Luke Baker

Published 19/02/2016

Laughing matter: Mark Allen is enjoying Welsh Open success
Laughing matter: Mark Allen is enjoying Welsh Open success

Mark Allen claims occasions like his upcoming Welsh Open quarter-final with Michael White are the reason he plays snooker after coming through the last 16 in Cardiff.

The Antrim cueman was made to work hard by veteran Barry Hawkins before eventually prevailing 4-3 in the £325,000 event.

That sets up a last-eight clash tonight with home favourite White, who delighted the Motorpoint Arena crowd by producing a scoring blitz to knock out defending champion John Higgins.

White is now riding the crest of a wave of confidence but after already dispatching one Welshman in the form of Ryan Day this week, Allen is relishing the opportunity to see off a second.

"Michael had a very good win against John Higgins and he will have the crowd on his side," said Allen.

"Home support brings added pressure too but I've already beaten one Welshman so hopefully I can turn it into a second.

"I expect him to deal with the pressure very well, he's got a good head on young shoulders and has a very good future in the game but hopefully not much of a future left in the Welsh Open.

"You feel like you're part of the tournament now. This is what you play snooker for, to play in the big arenas, to be in the latter stages, for the one table set-ups and the big crowds so hopefully I'll go on to win the title from here."

Allen raced into a 3-1 lead against Hawkins and although the Englishman battled back to level at 3-3, the world No.9 eventually got over the line.

And he insists he was unsurprised by the grit of the man currently one place above him in the world rankings.

"It was a tough match with the way Barry fought back at the end but you expect that from Barry.

"He never gives up when he's behind but I managed to hold myself together well in the last frame."

There is also a mouthwatering clash today between man of the moment Ronnie O'Sullivan - who scored that infamous 146 on Monday - and world number one Mark Selby.

Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing 19 tournaments, including the World Championship, UK Championship, Welsh Open and the Masters, as well as exclusive series 'The Ronnie O'Sullivan Show'.

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