Thursday, 7 March 2013
Winning the Haikou World Open last year was a milestone moment in Antrim snooker supremo Mark Allen's career.
But now the 27-year-old has gone one better by retaining the prestigious title by outplaying some of the world's best on Hainan Island.
He took on Welshman Matthew Stevens in last Sunday's nail-biting final, having seen off talented players including Ricky Walden John Higgins along the way.
Allen pounced on every chance to open a 4-0 lead, helped by runs of 48, 52, 93 and 58, and by the end of the first session he had created a three frame buffer at 6-3 ahead with a best effort of 100.
If Stevens was to retain any chance in the match he needed a good start in the evening but Allen ensured that didn't happen. He dug deep in the tactical exchanges and pushed further ahead.
Stevens clawed back one frame with a 100 break but Allen kept the pressure up and rounded off his 10-4 victory with 69 in the 14th frame - pocketing himself a cool £85,000.
“I'm very happy to win and retain my title - to win the same tournament two years in a row is a great achievement," he said after the match.
While he conceded he 'struggled to get into a rhythm' and 'a lot of the frames were scrappy', he said he was proud of the way he handled the game.
“I like to get the balls open and make breaks and entertain the crowd, but sometimes you can't do that," he explained.
“The score line 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."
He also tweeted his delight to his thousands of followers on Twitter, writing: "Thanks everyone for all your messages. Your support means a lot. Happy to win the World Open for the 2nd year in a row. Onwards and upwards!"
Allen will be hoping his form can continue into the upcoming PTC Grand Finals and the China Open, before the World Championships begin on April 20.
“The continued success of Mark Allen in the professional snooker ranks brings a sense of great pride and encouragement to the people of South Antrim," South Antrim MLA Trevor Clarke told the Antrim Guardian.
“Mark is a role model for young people in South Antrim to look up to and will hopefully inspire them to become professional sportsmen or women in the future.
“It shows with hard work and dedication to your chosen profession, great results can be achieved. It would seem that he is in excellent form and I wish him continued success with the World Snooker Championships just around the corner."
Send to a friend
Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.