Mark Allen is hoping his difficult season will take a turn for the better this week at the Chinese tournament he has dominated for the past two years.
The sparky Northern Ireland left-hander has won back-to-back Haikou World Open titles and set off on his bid for a hat-trick with a 5-2 victory over Mike Dunn on Monday.
Allen, 28, has reached just one major quarter-final during the current campaign, when he had a strong run at the UK Championship in York, and has consequently dropped out of the world’s top 10.
But at the tournament where he has landed the only major ranking titles of his career, he is looking to step up his performance.
“I’ve got a good record here and I want to keep it going but I need to play better,” Allen said.
“I might play Mark Williams next so it doesn’t get any easier considering Mark’s a two-time world champion and one of the greatest in the game,” he added on worldsnooker.com.
“To play him in the last 32 is not very easy.”