Cue Action – Allen Retains Title – By Will Vallely

Mark Allen has retained his Haikou World Open title by comfortably defeating Matthew Stevens 10-4.

Allen came out of the blocks quickly by winning the first three frames. But it will be the fourth frame that dealt a major blow to Stevens, as he opened up a 55 point lead, but only to see Allen respond with a tidy clearance of 58 to stretch his advantage.

The Welshman did respond though with breaks of 67 and 112 to reduce the arrears to just two frames. However Allen ended up once again extended his lead to three frames as the first session closed with Allen holding 6-3 lead.

In the evening session Allen looked very comfortable and won four of the next five frames to retain his title with a comfortable 10-4 victory.

The feisty Northern Irishman also won by a clear margin in last year’s final when he thrashed Stephen Lee 10-1.

Mark Allen looked in good form all week and none of his opponents throughout the event came close to victory. He comfortably beat the likes of Ryan Day, Ricky Walden and John Higgins to reach the final.

After his win Allen said: “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 very heavily. The scoreline was flattering; it wasn’t as one sided as that”.

Allen became the first player to retain a ranking title since John Higgins retained the Welsh Open in 2011.

By winning the tournament Allen takes home a check of £85,000 and climbs up to number seven in the world rankings.

Despite his defeat Matthew Stevens I’m sure will be satisfied with his efforts throughout the week, as he beat the likes of Shaun Murphy, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson to reach the final.
It was the Welshman’s first appearance in a final in five years.

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