SNOOKER: Mark Allen coasts through to next round in UK Championship

Mark Allen
Mark Allen

Mark Allen secured safe progress at the Betway UK Championship against “unbelievable talent” Zhao Xintong.

The Northern Irishman arrived in York in impressive form, having won the Bulgarian Open and reached the final of the Champion of Champions.

Allen again looked strong as he overcame Xintong 6-2, although the world number 11 was impressed by his 18-year-old Chinese opponent.

“Zhao is an unbelievable talent,” Allen said. “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.”

Allen now meets Michael Georgiou at the last-64 juncture, while Graeme Dott overcame Nigel Bond 6-2.

Vinnie Calabrese fell 6-0 to Robert Milkins and Robin Hull came back to defeat Zhang Anda 6-4, while Robbie Williams and Dechawat Poomjaeng overcame Mitchell Mann and Chris Melling respectively.

Barry Hawkins - the 2013 World finalist - beat Andy Hicks 6-5.

Marco Fu is through after beating Hatem Yassen 6-2 and Tian Pengfei thrashed Ian Burns 6-1.

In four late matches that went the distance, Alan McManus, Chris Wakelin, Aditya Mehta and Li Hang were 6-5 victors against Eden Sharav, Matthew Stevens, Sam Baird and Lee Walker respectively.