Sunday 18 March 2018

Stevens to face Allen in final

Mark Allen, pictured, will face Matthew Stevens in the final
Mark Allen, pictured, will face Matthew Stevens in the final

Matthew Stevens shrugged off a cue crisis to advance to his first ranking final in five years at the Haikou World Open in China.

The Carmarthen 35-year-old edged a nail-biting 6-5 win over Neil Robertson to set up a Sunday final against holder Mark Allen, who saw off John Higgins 6-2.

Stevens, who had to battle through the first two rounds of the tournament with a borrowed cue after his own cue was delayed in transit to China, found himself 5-4 down at one stage.

But he finished with breaks of 60 and 51 to clinch victory and book his place in his first final since the 2008 Bahrain Championship.

Stevens told "It's my first final in China and it's a great feeling as we've got a lot of tournaments here.

"As I've been saying all week, it's just a bonus to still be here after what happened to my cue.

"It wasn't the best match, both of us struggled a bit. I made most of the breaks but threw away a couple of frames and I would have been kicking myself if I'd lost."

Allen hit a break of 119 in the second frame of his semi-final against Higgins, who had gone into the match on a high after his quarter-final whitewash of Ding Junhui.

After going into the interval level at 2-2, Allen pulled away with an 81 putting him on the brink of victory.

And Allen duly wrapped up the match to move closer to his second consecutive Haikou title.

Press Association

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