Mark Allen claimed his first ever ranking title by hammering Stephen Lee 10-1 to claim the Star Xing Pai Haikou World Open and with it the first prize of 75,000 pounds.
Day 7, Session 2, Sunday 4th March
Stephen Lee (ENG) 1-10 Mark Allen (NIR)
Runner-up at last year’s UK Championship, Allen has finally gone one better and looks set for a glittering future within the game.
The 26 year-old from Antrim carried a huge 8-1 lead into the evening session and two frames were all that were required for Allen to seal a magnificent victory. He took a scrappy tenth frame before a marvellous clearance of 104 saw him past the finishing post.
The damage had already been done in the afternoon as Allen weighed in with three tons and some frame clinching 50s to put the match well under his control. Lee had no real answer, as he looked out of sorts in sharp contrast to some of his blistering performances throughout the week.
Lee was Allen’s fifth victim of the week following wins over Jimmy Robertson, Judd Trump, Mark King and Mark Selby, and he can look ahead to the final two events of the season with renewed confidence.
“I played pretty well today. I started out well and put Stephen under pressure. I think when I was 4-0 up he knew he had to play pretty much flawless for the rest of the match. He showed in the last few months how well he’s playing and that he’s nearly back to his best,” said Allen after the most one-sided ranking event final since Stephen Maguire beat David Gray 10-1 at the 2004 UK Championship.
Allen’s stock will have risen considerably this week and with the China Open and World Championship approaching, he will surely be fancying his chances of adding to his trophy cabinet.
“It’s hard to imagine that you’re going to win so comfortably, it can be difficult when you do have a lead as it can be hard to keep concentration. But I think I did that pretty well today and didn’t give Stephen a chance to get back in the game and I closed the match out very well,” continued Allen, whose previous biggest title was the invitational 2009 Jiangsu Classic, also in China.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet; it may take a day or two but I think once I get home and see my family and friends we’ll have celebratory drink and I think it will sink in that I’ve actually done it.
“It’s been a long time coming as I’ve been a pro for seven years now. Sometimes you question if you’re ever going to win one especially if you look at the players who have been winning tournaments as I know I’m as good, if not better as some people who have won events so you have to be strong mentally and I think this will be the first of many.
“I’ll be back to defend my title – I’ll always look forward to playing in front of a Chinese crowd and they seem to enjoy watching me play.
“As I’ve said before I don’t really enjoy the travelling but that’s part and parcel of being a professional sports person.
“I’ll celebrate with my family and friends when at home but after that it’s back to business and practice for the next tournament as it’s a long season and I’m not going to get carried away. But I’ll enjoy this one.
“I don’t think I have anything to worry about any more – the biggest worry I had was winning this tournament and all the pressure is going to be on other players to beat me,” added Allen, who is up to No 7 in the world rankings.
Trowbridge’s Lee was very disappointed at his showing in the final match but took something from the week after a string of quality performances.
“Mark got off to a good start and I couldn’t get into the match and it went a bit one sided, and ended one sided,” said Lee.
“I was a bit disappointed at the end of the week but I have had a great time this week and the best man won on the day.
“I was devastated that I’ve not played a part in the final today. At this level if you don’t play your part, you get steamrollered and Mark could see I was struggling to get involved in the match. If you can see people down then you keep them down and Mark has done a good job on me today and good luck to him,” he added.
Monday February 27
1 Sam Baird 3-5 Jin Long
2 Robert Milkins 5-3 Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon
3 Mark King 5-2 Hossein Vafaei
4 Tom Ford 5-4 Lu Haotian
5 Jimmy Robertson 5-2 Zhou Yuelong
6 Joe Perry 5-0 Ruozi Maimaiti
7 Michael Holt 5-4 Zhu Yinghui
8 Nigel Bond 4-5 Lu Ning
Tuesday February 28
9 John Higgins 5-3 Marco Fu
21 Shaun Murphy 5-3 Ricky Walden
13 Graeme Dott 5-2 Barry Hawkins
11 Ding Junhui 1-5 Jin Long
20 Judd Trump 5-0 Andrew Higginson
23 Stuart Bingham 0-5 Michael Holt
15 Stephen Lee 5-0 Dominic Dale
Wednesday February 29
24 Mark Selby 5-3 Lu Ning
17 Mark Williams 1-5 Mark King
19 Mark Allen 5-1 Jimmy Robertson
22 Matthew Stevens 4-5 Joe Perry
12 Stephen Maguire 3-5 Robert Milkins
16 Neil Robertson 5-3 Stephen Hendry
10 Martin Gould 4-5 Jamie Cope
Thursday March 1
29 Mark King 5-4 Tom Ford
32 Michael Holt 3-5 Mark Selby
30 Mark Allen 5-4 Judd Trump
31 Shaun Murphy 5-3 Joe Perry
26 Jin Long 2-5 Robert Milkins
25 John Higgins 5-0 Jamie Cope
27 Graeme Dott 5-3 Marcus Campbell
28 Stephen Lee 5-2 Neil Robertson
Friday March 2
QF3 Mark King 1-5 Mark Allen
QF4 Shaun Murphy 0-5 Mark Selby
QF1 John Higgins 3-5 Robert Milkins
QF2 Graeme Dott 1-5 Stephen Lee
Saturday March 3
SF2 Mark Allen 6-5 Mark Selby
SF1 Rob Milkins 2-6 Stephen Lee
Sunday March 4
Mark Allen 10-1 Stephen Lee
Mark Allen 10-1 Stephen Lee