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Joe Allen aiming to take a leaf out of Joe Swail's book

Mark Allen will attempt to emulate fellow Ulsterman Joe Swail when he begins his Betway UK Championship campaign against China's Zhao Xintong in York.

Allen goes into the £750,000 event - Ronnie O'Sullivan has decided not to defend the title - in top form having won the Bulgarian Open earlier this month and then reached the final of the Champion of Champions at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry when he was beaten by Neil Robertson.

The Antrim potter reached the final of the 2011 UK Championship, losing 10-8 to Judd Trump.

The winner will face Michael Georgiou in the last 64 of the leading tournament outside the World Championship.

Swail had laser eye surgery last month and believes the improvement in his vision could resurrect his career, backing that up with a 6-0 whitewash of Joel Walker highlighted by breaks of 98, 68 and 79.

Next up for the 46-year-old Belfast cueman is surprise packet Adam Duffy, who sent two-time champion Ding Junhui crashing out on a 6-2 scoreline.

Northern Ireland international Gerard Greene was also on top form, whitewashing Scotland's Michael Leslie 6-0 with breaks of 138, 93 and 78.

Mark Williams came through a tough test against Pakistan's only pro Hamza Akbar, eventually winning 6-4.

"He started potting a lot of balls and put me under pressure," said Williams.

Belfast Telegraph


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