Mark Allen held his nerve to overcome former partner Reanne Evans at the opening round of the British Open, in a match charged by tension.

Twelve-time women's world champion Evans picked up a two-year tour card in March and never looked out of place, competing against the world number 10.

Evans and Allen split acrimoniously in 2008, and Allen has previously been critical of women joining the professional World Snooker Tour.

Allen also asked for Evans to be removed from a TV studio next to his practice table at the World Championships in April, claiming her presence was a distraction.

The tension between the duo ramped further just before the match when Evans ignored Allen's attempts at a pre-match fist bump.

Ken Doherty through at British Open as Aaron Hill bows out

Evans settled into things quickly and raced off to a promising start in the opening frame but broke down on 34 and Allen kept his composure to rattle off 80 on several visits to the table to take the first frame 80-34.

As the pressure increased both players began to make basic errors but Evans was able to seize on a missed yellow to level things in the second frame and a high break of 56 helped her race into a 2-1 lead.

Allen was making some uncharacteristic mistakes by now and another one in the fourth frame gave Evans the chance to race into a 66-20 lead with a break of 56, needing just one more red to leave Allen needing snookers.

A pot on the blue saw her split the final two reds but she was missing the rub of the green and she landed on neither. Eventually Allen was able to put together a composed break of 47 to levels things at two frames a piece.

After so much drama, the deciding frame was slightly anticlimactic as Allen quickly rattled off a break of 68 to leave his opponent needing snookers and he was able to see the match out, taking the final frame 84-23.

Allen admitted afterwards that the occasion was not one he enjoyed and said: "It was horrible, it's not something I want to really go through too often, but we had to try and remain as professional as possible and I think I did that very well."

Quizzed about the fist-bump snub, Allen would only say: "I'd rather not answer that one. I didn’t play my best but I thought I treated it like any other match, I showed respect where respect was due.

"I thought Reanne played really, really well the first three-and-a-half frames and was just unfortunate with a cannon not to go on and win 3-1. But I just hung in there and then made a one-visit in the last."