Mark Allen booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Betway UK Championship after emerging a 6-5 victor in a thrilling clash with Australia’s Neil Robertson.
Victory for the Pistol sees him reach the last eight of the UK Championship for the first time since 2013. While 2010 World Champion Robertson continues a poor run of results against Allen, having now lost their last four meetings.
The Thunder from Down Under was first to get a frame on the board this evening. However, 2011 UK Championship runner-up Allen responded with breaks of 77 and 62 on his way to taking three frames on the bounce to lead 3-1 at the mid-session.
Robertson then clawed his way back into the tie by clinching a glut of tight frames. After claiming a 27-minute fifth, the two-time UK Champion won the following two frames on the final black, by a single point, to lead 4-3.
Allen restored parity, before 14-time ranking event winner Robertson extraordinarily won another frame by a single point to move one from victory at 5-4. However, it wasn’t to be for the Australian, as Allen summoned his best snooker at the crucial moment.
The Northern Irishman surged over the finishing line from behind in typically steely fashion, firing in back-to-back century runs of 102 and 114 to clinch an impressive victory.
The Pistol now faces Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals after the Scot came from 4-0 down to beat Mark Williams. However, Allen admitted to feeling the pressure this evening after celebrating prematurely when potting a long pink prior to match ball in the decider.
“It was a bit silly of me to celebrate when I did. I wondered what I had done,” said Allen. “It was the most pressure I have probably ever felt potting the final four balls, but luckily enough I did it.
“I felt like I was playing the better snooker this evening. Yes there were errors, but I thought I was the better player. You aren’t going to beat a class act like Neil too often from 5-4 down. He didn’t score a point in the last two frames so it was a good way to close out the match.”
Tom Ford booked his first ever Triple Crown quarter-final appearance with a late night 6-5 win over China’s Lu Ning.
There was never more than a frame between the pair in an epic clash which lasted four hours and 45 minutes. Ford top scored with a century run of 108. The Leicester potter will now face either Judd Trump or Joe Perry in the last eight.
Ford said: “I could see from the first frame that he was playing really slowly and normally when that happens my head goes and I find it really difficult to stay concentrated. So the thing I am most pleased about with this win, is that I hung in there and managed to get over the line.
“I honestly don’t think I have played particularly well so far in this tournament. I’ve had a few 6-5 wins and Alan McManus didn’t turn up in our match. The draw opened up a bit for me, but I know I will have to play better in the quarter-final.”