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Matthew Stevens and Mark Allen advance to Haikou decider

Updated: Saturday, 02 Mar 2013 17:33 | Comments

Matthew Stevens held his nerve - and his regular cue - to reach the final in Haikou
Matthew Stevens held his nerve - and his regular cue - to reach the final in Haikou

Matthew Stevens shrugged off a cue crisis and a refereeing blunder to progress to his first ranking final in five years at the Haikou World Open in China today.

The 35-year-old edged a nail-biting 6-5 win over Neil Robertson to set up a Sunday final against holder Mark Allen, who saw off John Higgins 6-2.

Stevens had to battle through the first two rounds of the tournament with a borrowed cue after his own cue was delayed in transit to China.

Once reunited, Stevens faced another obstacle when referee Eirian Williams incorrectly replaced the balls following a Stevens foul in the fourth frame against Robertson.

Williams appeared to disregard Hawkeye when he replaced the balls, leading Stevens to attempt and miss a black that ought not to have been open for him, and Robertson to win the frame.

But after falling 5-4 behind, Stevens finished with breaks of 60 and 51 to clinch victory and book his place in his first final since the 2008 Bahrain Championship.

Stevens told worldsnooker.com: "It's my first final in China and it's a great feeling as we've got a lot of tournaments here.

"As I've been saying all week, it's just a bonus to still be here after what happened to my cue.

"It wasn't the best match, both of us struggled a bit. I made most of the breaks but threw away a couple of frames and I would have been kicking myself if I'd lost."

Allen hit a break of 119 in the second frame of his semi-final against Higgins, who had gone into the match on a high after his quarter-final whitewash of Ding Junhui.

After going into the interval level at 2-2, Allen pulled away with an 81 putting him on the brink of victory.

Allen duly wrapped up the match to move closer to his second consecutive Haikou title.

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