World Grand Prix: Mark Allen edged out by Xiao Guodong in Preston

Mark Allen

Masters champion Mark Allen let slip a 3-0 lead as Xiao Guodong fought back to win 4-3 in the World Grand Prix.

The world number nine from Northern Ireland hit breaks of 86 and 51 as he won the opening three frames of the first-round encounter in Preston.

Chinese opponent Guodong started his comeback with a break of 89 before making it 3-2.

Guodong, who is ranked 29th, won the final two frames with ease thanks to breaks of 78 and 71.

Allen became the first Northern Irishman to win the Masters since Dennis Taylor in 1987 when he defeated Kyren Wilson in London last month.

Elsewhere, four-time world champion John Higgins beat Ali Carter 4-3 to book his place against Xiao in the last 16.

Welshman Michael White knocked out former champion Judd Trump 4-1, former champion Shaun Murphy beat Ricky Walden 4-1 and Australian Neil Robertson beat David Gilbert by the same score.

Stephen Maguire beat China Championship semi-finalist Li Hang 4-0, while Joe Perry defeated 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott 4-2.

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