Monday, 4 March 2013

Allen at the World Open double

Mark Allen will be beginning to like playing his snooker on Hainan Island.

Picture by Monique Limbos
He beat Matthew Stevens 10-4 to retain his World Open crown and takes his earnings in just two years in the tournament up to £160,000.

Returning to the scene where he won his first ranking event a year ago, he repeated his heroics to prove yet again that he is one of the real bright talents of our game.

His win wasn't marred or tarnished by events off the table this time, though. There were no Twitter controversies, just great snooker. He showed he has matured, getting his head down, doing what he does best on the table and going quietly about his business.

By Allen's own admission, he started the tournament slowly but grew as the week went on like you need to if you are to become a champion.

His best performance of the week saw him beat John Higgins 6-2 in the semi-final. He was absolutely superb; perhaps flawless. He was confident and in full flow, easily taking apart one the the all-time greats. That is very impressive

I've been watching Allen play for long enough now. He is a great attacking player; a player most people love to watch. He has great qualities and will, in my opinion, go on to regularly win titles.

These days it is impossible to play well throughout the entire season. There are so many events and it's far too long to remain at your peak for the full length. Instead, it's key to come good at the right times.

Victory in Haikou suggest Allen could be boiling up perfectly for the World Championship. The Northern Ireland man loves the biggest events. In fact, he doesn't see the value of a lot of the small events. When he lost to Cao Yupeng in round one in Sheffield last year he said it put a dampener on his entire campaign.

He has the confidence and will be desperate to go all the way this time. He's up to a career-high number five in the world five and has honed his game to be realistically considered one of the true contenders on the biggest stage.

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