Allen retains Haikou World Open crown
Updated: Sunday, 03 Mar 2013 16:04
Mark Allen retained his Haikou World Open crown b Matthew Stevens 10-4 in the final in China today.
Allen never looked back from winning the first four frames and eventually won at a canter even though his his Welsh opponent narrowed the deficit back to 7-4 in the evening session.
The Northern Irishman became the first person to win a world ranking tournament in successive years since John Higgins, whom Allen beat in the semi-final yesterday, triumphed in the Welsh Open in 2010 and 2011.
"I'm very happy to win and retain my title, to win the same tournament two years in a row is a great achievement," Allen told worldsnooker.com.
"The snooker wasn't as good as I had hoped. I didn't get into a rhythm and I didn't score very heavily. The scoreline was flattering, it wasn't as one-sided as that.
"But the result is all that matters. My form has been good for the last few months so I'm relieved, more than anything, to finally get a win. Hopefully I can push on now and win more."
"My form has been good for the last few months so I'm relieved, more than anything, to finally get a win," - Mark Allen
Allen won the first three frames thanks to breaks of 48, 52 and 93.
Stevens led 55-0 in the fourth frame only to see his opponent respond with a clearance of 58.
But any thoughts Allen would storm to victory - like he did when he thumped Stephen Lee 10-1 in last year's final - were put on the backburner when his Welsh opponent reduced the deficit to two frames with breaks of 67 and 112.
However, 27-year-old Allen regained a four frame advantage, which included a break of 100 to go 6-2 ahead.
Stevens, competing in his first final in five years, ended the session on a high note by winning the last frame and keeping his hopes of a fightback in the evening session alive.
And the 35-year-old appeared set to narrow the deficit further but poor positional play in the 10th frame cost him dear, with Allen snatching it following a brilliant long pot on the blue.
A century break brought Stevens back to within three frames, but Allen made 55 and 68 - in-between a scrappy frame which the Antrim cueman also won - to clinch victory.
Stevens, who 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, admitted afterwards that he never recovered from his poor start.
"The start of the match was important, it could have been 2-2 but I was 4-0 down and it's difficult to catch up after that," he said.
"I could never get back to within one frame.
"It wasn't a great match today but Mark's safety was a lot better than mine and he did the job, so well done to him.
"It's always disappointing to lose in finals, but it's still been a good week for me, especially after losing my cue. I've earned a lot of ranking points and I know I'm safe in the top 16."