Allen dealing with Belfast expectancy

Tags: Mark Allen, Dafabet Northern Ireland Open

World number seven Mark Allen feels he is already handling the home-town pressure better at this year's Dafabet Northern Ireland Open in Belfast. Allen is playing in front of a home crowd desperate to see him succeed, something he admits has added pressure to his shoulders in the past. He came through an edgy battle with world number 107 Sanderson Lam to book his spot in the last 64 at the Waterfront Hall with a 4-2 victory.


He'll be locking horns with Tian Pengfei on Wednesday and the Antrim potter is keen to build some momentum, with Allen already feeling more comfortable in Belfast this time around. "In the build-up I felt a lot more pressure than last year but [out there] I didn't feel that bad," he said. "I just didn't play that great which can happen in the first round of a tournament. "The pressure out there in the arena was actually nowhere near as bad as last year in the end. Hopefully it gets a little bit easier as the tournament goes on. I'm looking forward to Wednesday now." Allen is 2/5 to overcome Pengfei on Wednesday evening, with the world number 63 priced at 15/8. 'The Pistol' is 3/1 to grab a 4-1 win in front of his home crowd.


Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump were amongst the early casualties in Belfast while multiple world champions Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins are both in second-round action on Wednesday after coming through their openers unscathed. O'Sullivan is the favourite at 15/8 to win the Northern Ireland Open while Allen can be backed at 9/1 to triumph in Belfast on Sunday.


Dafabet Northern Ireland Open odds available at Dafabet.