Allen Answers Critics

A resounding 10-1 victory for Mark Allen in the final of the World Open in China gave the 26 year-old his first ranking event title earlier today.

After coming from behind on two occasions this week to clinch deciding frame thrillers against Judd Trump and Mark Selby, Allen was in no mood for a close encounter and raced away to lift his maiden major silverware.

In the final against Stephen Lee, the Ulsterman claimed the first five frames with the aid of two centuries breaks and, even though his opponent avoided the dreaded whitewash, was able to reel off another five frames in quick succession and another pair of tons to go with it.

Lee was never in the game and was a far cry from the player that produced stunning snooker against Neil Robertson earlier in the week and who has enjoyed a stellar month on the circuit.

It will be a disappointing end to what has otherwise been a successful tournament for the four-time ranking event winner, all the more so for the manner in which he suffered the loss.

But it was all about Allen in Hainan. So often the bridesmaid during his professional career, the former amateur king can now begin his quest to be among the dominant forces in the sport.

Questions were raised last year as to whether or not Allen had the temperament to lift trophies after a series of high-profile semi-final defeats.

That was firmly put to bed when he finally broke the duck and reached the UK Championship final in York last December and the fact that he has quickly followed that up with a triumph in China is testament to his newly acclaimed confidence.

Not only that, but it marks a remarkable turnaround in the player’s fortunes to this time last year when he publicly admitted to suffering from depression.

Allen makes no qualms about admitting his displeasure to events overseas (from the UK and Ireland) but funnily enough this is his second title in China after claiming the invitational Jiangsu Classic in 2009.

Notorious for his outspoken comments about how events are run, where they are run and the sport in general, Allen seems to thrive on creating controversy.

It begs the question to whether or not there is a part of him – subconscious or otherwise – that gets himself into trouble on purpose in some sort of rallying cry with his own emotions.

Either way, there is no denying that the world number 7 is box-office material of the highest order and his presence in snooker is both welcomed and needed.

It wasn’t that long ago when there were complaints made about the lack of characters. Well, it would be hard to come across a more compelling  one than Mark Allen.

It is interesting to note that four of the last five tournament champions have come from a quartet of players that are expected to be dominant for the next decade – Trump, Robertson, Ding and now Allen. The fifth winner was a certain Ronnie O’Sullivan in Germany.

The challenge for these players has to now be a concerted push to claim not just a sole victory over the course of a campaign but a couple of trophies, or even a handful.

That topic is for another day, though, as this one belongs to Allen after a spectacular performance in the Far East.

The full draw and list of results can be viewed by clicking here.

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