Northern Ireland Open: Mark Allen advances to last 32 with 4-2 win over Peter Devlin

Allen 4-2 Devlin
Mark Allen will face either Simon Lichtenberg or Matthew Stevens in the next round

Mark Allen kept alive his hopes of securing a maiden Northern Ireland Open title as a nervy 4-2 win over Peter Devlin sent him through to the last 32.

Allen, who made his second career 147 against Si Jiahui on Sunday, has never progressed beyond the quarter-final stage at his home tournament.

The world number 11 took the first three frames before Englishman Devlin hit back with breaks of 72 and 76.

Allen held his nerve to record a match-winning break of 55 in the sixth frame.

The 35-year-old will face either Germany's Simon Lichtenberg or Welshman Matthew Stevens for a place in the last-16.

"It was a very different game to the other day," Allen told Eurosport.

"It was very scrappy. I didn't have my scoring shoes on and missed a few that I probably shouldn't have. At 3-0, I was cruising a little bit and Peter made two good breaks to go 3-2 and had chances in the last frame, so it turned into a very tight match."

Devlin, who is also a rapper with his own YouTube channel, led by a decent margin in the first frame before a missed black with the rest allowed Allen to produce a break of 36 and draw first blood at Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

The Northern Irishman also recorded a break of 36 in frame two. Devlin replied with a run of 44 but missed the final red along the top cushion and, following a tense exchange of safety shots, Allen doubled his advantage with a break of 20 again.

'I'm not going to be too hard on myself'

Allen missed a red to give Devlin the chance to get on the board in the third frame, but while the 25-year-old failed to take advantage on that occasion, the world number 82 kept himself in the match with a break of 72 to make it 3-1.

His confidence bolstered, Devlin - who secured his Tour Card in August 2020 - calmly tucked away a break of 76 to move to within one of Allen, who failed to replicate the free-flowing scoring form that delighted the Belfast crowd on Sunday.

Both players appeared nervous in an error-strewn sixth frame, but Allen bounced back from two missed blues to pot a long black and set up a match-winning break of 55, his highest of the afternoon.

"Every day is different," added Allen. "I missed a few shots today, but I'm not going to be too hard on myself because that's the game, it's not easy."

Following Allen into the next round was Judd Trump, who eased to a 4-0 win over 17-year-old Gao Yang of China, who failed to score a single point.

The world number two, who is hoping to claim a fourth Northern Ireland Open in a row, recorded breaks of 54, 100, 60 and 52 in a ruthless display to set up a last-32 meeting with Yang's compatriot Lu Ning.

Other winners on Tuesday included Australia's Neil Robertson who beat China's Xu Si 4-0 and another former world champion Shaun Murphy who beat fellow Englishman Allan Taylor while Scotland's Stephen Maguire edged out England's Hammad Miah 4-3 by the same scoreline.

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