Fergal O’Brien and Mark Allen Qualify for India

Irish duo Fergal O’Brien and Mark Allen both reached the main draw for the upcoming Indian Open after contrasting preliminary round victories in Preston.

Mark Allen Masters
Allen hasn’t won a tournament since March in 2016. Photo credit: Monique Limbos

O’Brien joined fellow Republic players Ken Doherty and Josh Boileau in the last 64 with a comprehensive 4-0 drubbing of Craig Steadman at the Guild Hall.

Allen, on the other hand, was made to fight for his place, as the Antrim potter withstood a spirited fight back by Thor Chuan Leong to prevail in a decider.

The 31 year-old has been struggling for positive results over the course of the last year and is sitting precariously above the top 16 cut-off point, with plenty of points to come off his tally in the second half of this season.

Allen is a notoriously streaky kind of competitor and will be hoping India will serve as a launchpad for a consistent run of form.

Meanwhile, world number two John Higgins advanced with a 4-1 triumph over David John which represented the Scotsman’s 921st career win – eclipsing the previous record held by six-time world champion Steve Davis.

Other comfortable winners on the second day of qualifying were Higgins’ countryman Stephen Maguire, up-and-coming Swiss star Alexander Ursenbacher, and Chinese talented young duo Zhou Yuelong and Zhao Xintong,

Indeed, it was a positive day all-in-all for China’s players with Yan Bingtao, Xu Si, Yu Delu, Wang Yuchen, Cao Yupeng, and Niu Zhuang all earning their right to compete in India next month.

There weren’t too many upsets to speak of with World Games gold medallist Kyren Wilson’s 4-2 defeat to Boonyarit Kaettikun the most high-profile casualty.

Former world champion Peter Ebdon joined him on the sidelines with a late loss to fellow Englishman Martin O’Donnell.

Among the other names to progress were Michael Holt, Mark King, Kurt Maflin, and David Gilbert.

That concludes the Indian Open leg of qualifiers in Preston but there are still two to go with the European Masters qualifiers starting next on Thursday.

Click here to view the Indian Open draw.

Click here to view the European Masters draw. (Times CET)

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