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Mark Allen fired up for home glory as Doherty joins him in NI Open last-16

Antrim's Mark Allen in action at the Northern Ireland Open (Matt Mackey/PressEye)
Antrim's Mark Allen in action at the Northern Ireland Open (Matt Mackey/PressEye)
Irish snooker player Ken Doherty (Tai Chengzhe/Visual China Group via Getty Images)
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Antrim cueman Mark Allen continued his outstanding form at the Northern Ireland Open by blasting his way into the last-16 with a dominant display against Scott Donaldson at the Waterfront Hall.

The World No.7 never took a backwards step in the match, firing his way to a sensational 4-0 whitewash over Donaldson in front of another capacity crowd cheering him on.

Such was the quality of his performance, Allen was able to rack up two century breaks, bettering the 101 he made in the second frame with a 118 to emphatically seal the match.

Allen, who has admitted he is staying in a hotel instead of at home this week to try and stay in tournament mode, will now seriously fancy his chances of reaching the quarter-finals as he faces 101st-ranked Alexander Ursenbacher in the last-16.

The 23-year-old Swiss continues to stun the field as he stormed into the last-16 with a major upset, dumping out World No.12 Stuart Bingham 4-2 in the morning session.

Ursenbacher raced into a three-frame lead in their third round tie and, although Bingham pulled it back to a one-frame game with breaks of 92 and 58, the lowest seed remaining in the competition held on to seal it in the sixth.

There was more Irish joy in Belfast too as Ken Doherty's incredible run continued as he booked his place in the last-16 by upsetting World No.22 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

The 1997 world champion needed a seventh frame decider to edge it 4-3, but he held his nerve from a frame down to emerge victorious over his Thai opponent.

Un-Nooh had pulled ahead in the fifth, racking up a break of 79 in the process, but consecutive breaks of 96 and 66 in the sixth and seventh frames respectively saw Doherty through.

The Ranleagh man is in line to meet Mark Selby in the fourth round should the three-time world champion defeat Luca Brecel in his last-32 tie as expected.

It was not to be for another Irishman, however, as Fergal O'Brien found Barry Hawkins too hot to handle, eventually losing 4-2 to the World No.11 in his third round clash.

World No.1 and defending champion Judd Trump also moved into the last-16 as he easily saw off the challenge of Si Jiahui, needing no time at all to win 4-0 comfortably.

In the final two games of the afternoon, 'Rocket' Ronnie O'Sullivan blazed by Stuart Carrington, dispatching him 4-1, and Mark Selby needed one more to defeat Luca Brecel 4-2.

There were also victories for John Higgins, who had a 4-1 win over Billy Joe Castle, and for Shaun Murphy, who was a 4-3 winner against Ricky Walden in their third round clash.

In the morning session, World No.9 Kyren Wilson progressed as he chalked up breaks of 72, 51 and 50 on his way to a 4-2 win over Tian Pengfei to rubber-stamp his spot in the last-16.

NI OPEN DAY FOUR - Third Round


10am: Ali Carter 3-4 Yan Bingtao, Andrew Higginson 3-4 Anthony Hamilton, Tian Pengfei 2-4 Kyren Wilson, Ken Doherty 4-3 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Harvey Chandler 2-4 Stephen Maguire, Mark Joyce 3-4 Robbie Williams, Alexander Ursenbacher 4-2 Stuart Bingham, Barry Hawkins 4-2 Fergal O'Brien

1pm: Judd Trump 4-0 Si Jiahui, Billy Joe Castle 1-4 John Higgins, Joe Perry 4-1 Graeme Dott, Scott Donaldson 0-4 Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy 4-3 Ricky Walden, Yuan SiJun 4-3 Ben Woollaston

2:30pm: Mark Selby 4-2 Luca Brecel, Stuart Carrington 1-4 Ronnie O'Sullivan

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