Mark Allen won his first title of the season at the fifth European Tour event yesterday in Mulheim, Germany.
The Northern Irishman claimed his second PTC event in as many years, and fourth professional title carrying ranking points overall, with a 4-1 victory over Ding Junhui in the final.
The 27 year-old played the best snooker of the day on Sunday and deservedly came away with the spoils – a new trophy for his cabinet and 25k euro in prize money.
Allen perhaps benefited from racing through his semi-final encounter with rookie Robbie Williams, making his debut appearance in the last four.
The Antrim player whitewashed the young Englishman 4-0 while in contrast on the other table China’s Ding was taken all the way in a marathon 4-3 clash with Stephen Maguire.
That meant Ding, the recent Shanghai Masters champion, had just short of 45 minutes to prepare for the final.
A major element of these satellite three-day events, though, is one’s ability to get matches over with quickly and conserve as much energy as possible for the latter rounds.
Ding endured three deciding frame thrillers out of his seven ties while Allen was only pushed the distance once, in his opening game on Sunday, the fourth round clash with Mark Davis.
Allen followed that up with victory over Judd Trump while Ding edged Anthony Hamilton 4-3 before overcoming Ryan Day in the quarter-finals, and then Scotland’s Maguire in the semis.
In the final, Allen quickly opened up a three frame advantage with breaks of 76 and 100 and, despite the fact Ding was able to register a frame in the fourth, he completed the triumph in the next with another good run of 74.
It guarantees Allen’s qualification for the lucrative Grand Finals next March, which has in the past always been staged in Ireland, while Ding’s extended run should also bode well for his return to defend the crown he won towards the end of last season.
It continues a good spell of form for the Chinese no.1 following his success in his homeland whle Allen will be hoping he can find more consistency this season in his effort to land one of the major titles.
The crowds at the Ruhr Open were once again typical of those found at any of the events held in Germany over the last few years.
The venue looked incredible as fans enjoyed easy access to watch any of the eleven tables they wanted.
And being almost, if not, packed throughout the tournament’s entirety, the atmosphere was once again enthusiastic but respectful.
It is with amazement then that, even though there are not many, you still see players complaining about having to leave the UK to ply their trade despite being given such wonderful receptions and great facilities to play in.