Allen through but seeds wobble

Mark Allen made sure of his place in the World Championship quarter-finals as the seeds looked set to be scattered in Sheffield.

Mark Allen made sure of his place in the World Championship quarter-finals as the seeds looked set to be scattered in Sheffield.

Defending champion John Higgins, Grand Prix winner Neil Robertson and world number two Stephen Maguire were all in serious danger of making second-round exits from the tournament today.

Northern Irishman Allen is bidding to become his country’s first world champion since Dennis Taylor beat Davis in the 1985 final.

He made short work of England’s Mark Davis, winning eight of the 10 frames they contested yesterday and finishing with back-to-back centuries, to seal a 13-5 victory and become the first man into the final eight.

Allen had a chat with Taylor before the evening session started and fired in his breaks of 131 and 101 to guarantee himself an early night.

“Obviously it’s good to have a Northern Irishman who’s won the world title and you can always learn off people like that,” said 24-year-old Allen.

“I’ve started to close out matches pretty well now and to finish with two centuries was an added bonus.”

Graeme Dott, the 2006 champion, was looking likely to be Allen’s next opponent.

Dott surprisingly opened up a 7-1 lead over world number two Maguire.

Dott went on runs of 94, 110, 99 and 59, and Maguire had a top break of 35, from the opening frame, which he lost.

Higgins was facing a tough morning against resurgent 52-year-old Davis, the king of the Crucible during the 1980s, after sliding 9-7 behind after two sessions. Their match was due to finish by lunchtime.

Australian Robertson, the world number nine and current Grand Prix champion, was having a torrid time against Martin Gould and ended the evening 11-5 in arrears.

Gould, the Londoner who quit dealing cards because it was giving him a sore back, hardly missed a ball early on as he fired in breaks of 70, 116, 80 and 53.

Robertson briefly threatened a fightback but he was struggling while Gould’s high standards hardly dropped all day.

The pre-tournament 250/1 title shot added runs of 58, 53 and 63 as he increased his lead to 11-5, and needs just two more this afternoon to set up a quarter-final against Davis or Higgins.

Two second-round matches were getting under way today, with Ronnie O’Sullivan taking on Mark Williams and Ali Carter in action against Joe Perry.

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