Zhao Xintong is aiming to gain a tour card for next season
Mark Allen enjoyed a 6-2 win at the Betway UK Championship on Thursday morning in York, but believes Zhao Xintong could be a star of the future.
Allen, who is in a rich vein of form having won the Bulgarian Open and reached the final of the Champion of Champions, was too strong for his 18-year Chinese opponent, compiling top breaks of 58, 66 and 115.
But Northern Irishman Allen had high praise for Zhao, who was runner-up to Pankaj Advani at the recent World Amateur Championship.
“Zhao is an unbelievable talent,” said world number 11 Allen, who now meets Michael Georgiou in the last 64. “He pots ball that he shouldn’t even be going for. It was a frightening experience because no ball on the table is safe. He has a bright future but he showed his naivety in the shots that he went for, and his safety could be better. I used my experience by keeping it tight and making it hard for him.
“I’ve been struggling with a cold and I was shivering out there. My eyes and my neck are sore. I’ll get some rest now before my next match.
“I’ll be back later today to watch my friend Jordan Brown play, and hopefully rip Stuart (Bingham) out by the roots. He has beaten me in practice so if he can beat me he can beat Stuart. It’s just about how he handles himself out in the arena, if he can play to his potential there could be a huge upset.”
Graeme Dott saw off veteran Nigel Bond 6-2 with a top break of 101 while Robert Milkins eased to a 6-0 win over Vinnie Calabrese with a top run of 70. Finland’s Robin Hull came from 4-3 down to beat Zhang Anda 6-4 while Robbie Williams top scored with 74 in a 6-3 win over Mitchell Mann. Dechawat Poomjaeng compiled runs of 123 and 113 in a 6-4 win over Chris Melling.