World Open 2013 - Allen shoots down Stevens in Haikou
Finalists Mark Allen & Matthew Stevens - Photos by Tai Chengzhe
Mark Allen has become the first player in snooker history to successfully defend the first ranking title he won, by comprehensively beating Matthew Stevens 10-4 at the Haikou World Open on Hainan Island, China.
The player known as 'The Pistol' was on fire all week and looked strong favourite to defend his title after only dropping five frames in beating Ryan Day, Robert Milkins, Ricky Walden & John Higgins on route to the final.
Allen pounced on every chance to open a 4-0 lead at the start of the final, helped by runs of 48, 52, 93 and 58. By the end of the first session he'd created a three frame buffer at 6-3 ahead with a best effort of 100.
If the Welshman was to retain any chance in the match he needed a good start in the evening session. Allen ensured that didn't happen, he dug deep in the tactical exchanges and surged further ahead through the match.
Stevens clawed back one frame with a 100 break but Allen kept the pressure up and rounded off victory with 69 in the fourteenth frame.
Allen was naturally delighted with his victory commenting "I'm very happy to win and retain my title, to win the same tournament two years in a row is a great achievement.
"The snooker wasn't as good as I had hoped. I didn't get into a rhythm and I didn't score heavily. The balls were awkward and a lot of the frames were scrappy. But I fought hard and won some close frames which were very important.
"I'm proud of myself for the way I handled it, considering it wasn't my style of match. I like to get the balls open and make breaks and entertain the crowd, but sometimes you can't do that. 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. Hopefully I can push on now and win more. If I can do well at the PTC Grand Finals and the China Open then it will give me a lot of confidence going into the World Championship."
Allen's victory also means that we have had eight different winners from the eight ranking events this season. The likes of Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui & Stuart Bingham have also yet to pick up a trophy in 2012/2013, will they be able to do it at the PTC Grand Finals, in Galway in two weeks?
A big shout out goes to ITV4 for their brilliant coverage of this year's World Open. The duo of Clive Everton & Neil Foulds in the commentary box was spot on, and I hope to see ITV Sport decide to cover all the major events outside the UK.
Once again well done to Mark Allen for his successful defence of his 2013 Haikou World Open crown!
Mark Allen - Haikou World Open Champion 2013
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