Mark Allen is through to the quarter-finals of the Coral Players Championship after a 6-3 defeat of Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in Southport.
Victory for Northern Ireland’s Allen is all the more impressive given he has been suffering with an ear infection and conjunctivitis.
It’s an important win for Allen, who is battling to secure his place at the upcoming Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno. Only the top eight players in this season’s one-year list will earn a place in Llandudno, Allen currently occupies 7th position in the live standings.
Despite being visibly unwell at the table, the Pistol extraordinarily fired in breaks of 129, 132 and 123 on his way to establishing a 4-2 advantage.
Un-Nooh then pulled one back, before Allen moved a frame from victory at 5-3. He sealed the win with a steely clearance of 48, which saw him steal the ninth frame on the black to win 6-3.
Allen said: “If it had been any other tournament I’d have had to pull out. It was complete guesswork out there. I’ve got a bit of an ear infection, conjunctivitis and a cold. It is really effecting my balance more than anything. I had to use the table to balance or I would have just fallen over.
“I just guessed really well today. I was feeding off muscle memory and years of practise. I had no feeling out there. I am going straight back to bed to try and rest.”
Fortunately for Allen he now has the day off tomorrow to recuperate. His next opponent will be close friend Shaun Murphy, who won a thrilling clash with David Gilbert 6-5.
Murphy has enjoyed a superb season so far to move into second position on the one-year list. The Magician has notched up ranking event wins at the China Championship and the Welsh Open.
Triple Crown winner Murphy had led 4-1, before being subjected to an impressive fightback from world number 11 Gilbert who forced a decider at 5-5. In the end Murphy held his nerve, making a break of 49 whilst controlling the final frame to book his last eight showdown with Allen.