Mark Allen defeated former partner Reanne Evans 3-2 after surviving a significant scare within the British Open.
The Northern Irishman was going through defeat at 60-22 down within the fourth body earlier than combating again in a tense conflict.
Evans, backed by a raucous following, didn’t reciprocate when Allen provided a fist bump earlier than the first-round match in Leicester.
The pair had been assembly for the primary time as professionals and in a rating event.
“Both players have shown great character. It’s been the most intense match I have probably ever witnessed,” mentioned seven-time males’s world snooker champion Stephen Hendry, commentating on ITV.
Allen described the draw as “awful” and mentioned he wouldn’t wish to face Evans once more, however acknowledged the efficiency of his overwhelmed opponent.
“She played much better than me but I made a good break to win it. She potted some unbelievable individual balls. She was very unfortunate not to go on and win 3-1,” mentioned the 35-year-old.
Despite the edgy opening, Evans apologised for a fluked pot through the match and Allen tapped the desk to acknowledge a break from his opponent.
Evans, 35, had saluted her vocal supporters as she got here out for the sport and went 34 forward within the opening body earlier than a missed black let her opponent in.
The English participant gained a scrappy second body after Allen did not pot the yellow when needing the colors and a 56 break helped seal the following.
A shock victory seemed on the playing cards earlier than Evans rattled a tough purple within the jaws of the pocket and Allen clinched the fourth body with a nerveless 47 clearance.
He adopted up with a 68 break within the decider to assist seal victory.
“I’m absolutely gutted but really proud of myself,” mentioned Evans. “Top players do what they do and you have to respect that.”
Evans, who was made an MBE in 2020 for her providers to girls’s snooker, has earned a two-year tour card this season to show skilled.
The match got here 4 months after Allen requested that Evans be faraway from a tv studio on the World Championship, the place she was working as a BBC pundit.
Allen was reported to have mentioned he didn’t need her to be in a TV studio the place a observe desk was located.
In April, the Northern Irishman mentioned he was taking a “break” from the sport to deal with private points.
Earlier on a dramatic opening day, Scotland’s John Higgins made the 12th maximum 147 break of his career, to surpass Hendry’s whole, as he beat Alexander Ursenbacher of Switzerland 3-1.
World primary Judd Trump simply edged previous Mitchell Mann 3-2 whereas veteran Jimmy White whitewashed Aaron Hill 3-0 and Allen’s compatriot Jordan Brown beat Andrew Higginson 3-2.
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