Mark Allen defeated at Open as Northern Ireland's wait for glory goes on
There was heartbreak for Mark Allen last night as he slumped to a dramatic 4-3 defeat to Alexander Ursenbacher in the last 16 of the 19.com Northern Ireland Open at the Waterfront Hall.
The Antrim cueman - who has admitted he would love nothing more than to land his home event - shared the first four frames with the 23-year-old Swiss, ranked 101st in the world.
Then Ursenbacher surged 3-2 ahead before the 33-year-old home favourite levelled.
But the underdog kept his nerve to book a quarter-final clash today with Joe Perry, who beat Robbie Williams 4-1.
World champion Judd Trump revealed that he is totally driven to make a successful defence of the Alex Higgins Trophy.
Fresh from a 4-0 victory over Yan Bingtao to book a place in today's last eight, the World No.1 hailed the Waterfront Hall tournament as one of the best around.
"I think playing for the Alex Higgins Trophy inspires people," said the defending champion, who beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-7 in last year's final of the £405,000 showpiece event.
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"The atmosphere is tremendous and there are a lot of good players still left in. The quarter-finals are the stage when things get really exciting.
"I am really enjoying myself and I would love to win it again."
Shaun Murphy booked his place in the quarter-finals by beating Barry Hawkins 4-2.
In yesterday afternoon's third round action, Allen had produced a commanding display to whitewash an outgunned Scott Donaldson 4-0, much to the delight of the big home support.
The lower levels of the atmospheric Waterfront Hall were packed for Allen's last 32 encounter, with the upper levels of the building filling up fast.
Allen's evening opponent Ursenbacher delivered one of the day's big early shocks - a sign of things to come - with a 4-2 win over 2015 World champion Stuart Bingham.
O'Sullivan was a 4-1 winner against Stuart Carrington.
Mark Selby - the only player who came to Belfast with a chance of the £1m bonus for the winner of all four Home Nations events after clinching the English Open title earlier this season - defeated Luca Brecel 4-2.
Dublin's former world champion Ken Doherty rolled back the years to dramatically beat rising star Thepchaiya Un-Nooh of Thailand 4-3.
Four-time World champion John Higgins defeated Billy Joe Castle 4-1, Perry beat Graeme Dott 4-1 and Murphy had a 4-3 win over Ricky Walden.