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Ronnie O'Sullivan off to a flyer as Mark Allen shines at NI Open

Mark Allen en route to his opening victory in Belfast
Mark Allen en route to his opening victory in Belfast

By Frank Brownlow

Mark Allen stressed his desire to sparkle on home ground as he cruised into the last-64 of the Northern Ireland Open at the Waterfront with a 4-1 victory over Sam Craigie to set up a clash with Jamie O'Neill tonight.

"I'm from Northern Ireland and a proud Northern Irishman so I want to do it for the fans - but first and foremost for myself. This is a good start but there's a long way to go," he said.

"I'm taking a totally different approach to this event this year. I'm trying to treat it like any other tournament - I'm even staying in a hotel even though I only live 20 minutes away," explained Allen.

"I've been getting away from any issues around tickets and doing as few pre-tournament interviews as possible just to try and take the pressure off myself.

"I'm just happy to be in the next round. I feel I played a little bit better than I did the last two years and handled the situation better.

"I felt edgy again but I was ready for that as I knew that would be the case. I tried not to get involved with the crowd and just concentrate on my game."

Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Oliver Lines 4-2 last night and will tackle Peifan Lei tonight.

And there was a real treat for the local fans at the Waterfront Hall when Stuart Bingham compiled the sixth 147 of his career in the first frame of his clash with Lu Ning.

The 2015 world champion is now level with Ding Junhui on career 147s, making him the joint fourth most prolific maximum maker in the history of the sport.

Only John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan have made more.

Bingham is now in line to pick up the £5,000 high break prize on offer this week in Belfast.

Following Tom Ford's two maximums earlier on this season, Bingham's perfect break is the third of the campaign.

If there are 20 before the end of the season, the players to make 147s will share £1,000,000 between them.

The maximum came in the first frame and inspired Bingham into taking a 3-0 lead, but Lu Ning responded with the next three frames to force a decider.

However, it was Bingham who prevailed 63-45 to reach the second round.

The legendary Jimmy White is out after he fell 4-2 to former world champion Peter Ebdon.

World champion Judd Trump started with three centuries - 106, 122 and 111 - against James Cahill to take the first three frames in double quick time, eventually winning 4-3. He faces Zhang Anda this afternoon.

Dungannon's Patrick Wallace - following his victory over 15-year-old Robbie McGuigan - exited yesterday with a 4-2 defeat against Chen Zifan.

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