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Northern Ireland's Mark Allen 'struggling with fatigue' at Scottish Open

Mark Allen came back from 2-0 behind to come back and achieve a 4-2 victory
Mark Allen came back from 2-0 behind to come back and achieve a 4-2 victory

By Will Jennings at the Emirates Arena

He may have progressed into the second round but defending 19.com Scottish Open champion Mark Allen says he is struggling from Betway UK Championship fatigue.

The Belfast potter was ambushed by a fast start from world number 121 Andy Hicks in Glasgow, being forced to fight back from 2-0 behind to come back and achieve a 4-2 victory.

And although he may have been concerned by the sloppy beginnings of his title defence, the world number seven says it was merely a case of fighting tiredness following his semi-final run in York last week.

“I think it was a bit of a UK Championship hangover at the start - I felt tired out there after my travelling on Sunday and coming off the back of a big semi-final,” the 33-year-old admitted.

“Mentally, I wasn’t as sharp as I’d liked to have been, but I took full advantage of the fluke I got at 2-0 and made my first meaningful contribution of the match and managed to play reasonably well.

“I’d just put my start down to tiredness - my game’s in good shape and I just started a bit sluggishly today after a late night last night.

“It was just all about getting four frames today no matter how ugly it was going to be.

“I played okay at the UK Championship without playing that well - I came through a lot of tight matches which is a good quality to have, but I do also need to start playing better.

“Glasgow’s a great city - last year was a bit of a blur and me and a few of my friends had a good time, but this year it won’t be like that and I’m going to be a bit more professional.

“But it’s great to be back - I love the city and of course I’ve got great memories of being defending champion as well.”

The five-time ranking event winner notched breaks of 88, 55 and 64 to cruise home at a canter, overcoming an early scare that could have derailed the resurgent cueman.

Elsewhere, Gerard Greene - whose parents hail from Belfast - was on the end of a symmetrical scoreline at the Emirates Arena, going down to a 4-2 defeat against the precocious Elliot Slessor.

Despite taking a 1-0 lead, Slessor’s second-frame 74 appeared to halt the world number 120’s charge, inflicting a second Home Nations ranking event defeat on him in a row after his early departure from the Betway UK Championship at the hands of Barry Hawkins.

Watch the Scottish Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport Player and Quest with studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White.

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