Robertson and Allen set to clash
Neil Robertson and Mark Allen will meet in the quarter-finals of the Betfair Masters after beginning their bids for glory with highly contrasting wins.
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While Allen won four frames in a row to ease past Mark Davis 6-2 this evening, defending champion Neil Robertson earlier had to overturn a 5-3 deficit and edge out another former winner Ding Junhui by a 6-5 margin.
In the opening match of this year's tournament at London's Alexandra Palace, Australian Robertson looked set for an early exit.
But he dug in, saving his best until the late stages with runs of 100, 62 and 90 getting him over the line.
Ding had breaks of 103 and 127, with 100 from Robertson in the ninth frame his highest.
Ding had one foot in the quarter-finals when he got to 50 on a break in frame 10, but his attempt to split a small pack off the blue went wrong and he was left with no clear shot, resorting to safety and then letting Robertson in for a brilliant 62.
With the bit between his teeth Robertson duly finished the job in the decider, a long red the start of a match-winning 90.
Robertson thought his tournament was over until Ding ran into trouble in the penultimate frame.
"He was unlucky to go into the pack off the blue. If the white had run another inch, it would have been all over," he said.
"But I am in a fortunate position to be able to try to defend my title. I'm not having an easy run in terms of opponents as he played fantastically well.
"If I was told I could play like that for the rest of the tournament I would be happy."
It was altogether more comfortable for Northern Irishman Allen, who started his match against Davis with a fantastic 136 clearance.
Englishman Davis took two of the next three frames - his highest break a score of 62 - as the players went in at the interval all square.
Yet Allen found an extra gear and a break of 79 helped him take the lead for a third time and he would not let Davis back in.
Allen went 5-2 ahead before clinching a clash with fellow left-hander Robertson thanks to an 80 break.
"I played okay out there. I started really well and finished well," said Allen.
"I'm happy overall but there's still a lot of improvement needed."
Allen is looking to get back to the form that saw him reach the UK Championship final 13 months ago.
Since then the Northern Irishman has lost in the first round at the 2012 Masters, World Championship and UK Championship.
"My results of late haven't been that great and this is my first match on the BBC that I've won in 13 months so it's been a long time coming," he added.
"There's a lot of pressure out there for many reasons that I'd rather not say but I'm just glad to get over the line."