Allen defends debut World Open title on Hainan Island
Thursday, 28 February 2013
It has been a year since 'The Pistol' shot to his first professional ranking tournament win in China, pocketing himself a tidy £75,000.
But as fans awake this morning (Tuesday) they will have everything crossed that local snooker supremo Mark Allen has made it over the first hurdle in his bid to retain his title.
Allen took on Welshman Ryan Day at 6.30am in a last 32 clash in a bid to book his place at the table against either Mark Davis or Robert Milkins.
Allen bagged the silverware with surprising ease in last year's Haikou World Open, defeating England's Stephen Lee by 10 frames to one.
A series of spectacular century breaks helped the 26-year-old to clinch victory - his biggest success since turning professional seven years previously.
The world number nine has displayed mixed form since the epic win - a low point being his first round defeat to Cao Yupeng in the World Championships in April.
After losing 10-6 to the Chinese player at the Crucible, Allen accused him of failing to declare an illegal push shot when leading 5-4. He was subsequently fined £10,000 and handed a three month suspended ban for the cheating allegations.
However Allen has also tasted success in the last 12 months, most notably in Belgium in October.
He made three century breaks in a terrific performance to beat Mark Selby 4-1 in the final of the Antwerp Open. A packed house at the Lotto Arena saw him lift the trophy and earn 12,000 Euros and 2,000 valuable ranking points. With another year of experience under his belt, hopes are high that Allen can keep his cool and the silverware.
But the left-hander will have to be at his best to retain his title, with Welsh Open winner Stephen Maguire, this year's German Masters champion Ali Carter and world number one Judd Trump among the chasing pack.
Full coverage of the Haikou World Open will be shown daily on ITV4 from 6.10am to 3pm until the final on Sunday (March 3).
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