Tuesday 26 September 2017

Allen strikes first

Mark Allen is in prime position to win the Haikou World Open
Mark Allen is in prime position to win the Haikou World Open

Mark Allen took a 6-3 lead over Matthew Stevens after the first session of their Haikou World Open final in China.

The Northern Irishman, looking for his second successive crown in this tournament, opened up a 3-0 lead 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 re-took a four frame advantage, which included a break of exactly 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.

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