Players Championship final
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Players Championship final: Mark Allen vs Zhang Anda

The 2024 Johnstone’s Paint Players Championship final will take place on Sunday, with Mark Allen and Zhang Anda vying for the title.

There is a champion’s cheque worth £125,000 up for grabs as both of the remaining contenders chase a second ranking title of the 2023/24 campaign.

Allen triumphed at the Snooker Shoot Out in December, a month after he also landed the prestigious Champion of Champions invitational crown.

For Zhang, the much-improved competitor from China is bidding to add to the International Championship trophy he collected in November.

The 32 year-old eventually emerged from a titanic tussle with Mark Selby on Saturday evening to reach his third final of the season, having also lost in the English Open title-deciding showdown.

Zhang raced into a 4-0 lead with a flurry of impressive contributions but wilted a little with the winning line in sight.

When Selby duly forced a deciding frame, he reestablished himself as the heavy favourite to progress.

But Zhang dug deep with a timely break of 50 finally helping him through to the Players Championship final.

The diminutive player known as Mighty Mouse has played 32 out of a possible 33 frames in the competition so far, suggesting fatigue might become a factor in Sunday’s battle for glory.

Allen’s path to the last two hasn’t been completely straightforward but has undoubtedly been much less stressful.

The Northern Irishman had a day off on Saturday having already emerged from Friday’s first semi-final with a 6-3 defeat of Ali Carter.

Following that victory, Allen quipped that he’d rather play Zhang in the final given the greater pedigree that Selby possesses.

It’ll be interesting to see if he can back that up with a strong performance as the final’s firm favourite.

Zhang beat Allen at the recent World Grand Prix over the best of seven frames, but the latter boasts a 2-1 superior head-to-head record overall.

Success for Zhang would see him move into the top eight of the world rankings, a miraculous rise considering he had never previously been ranked inside the world’s top 64 around this time last year.

That achievement would additionally see him earn an invitation to the upcoming Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker tournament in Saudi Arabia.

Allen, meanwhile, could underline his credentials of ending this season as the world number one with a strong performance in the Players Championship final.

The Pistol is already about £140,000 out in front in the provisional end-of-season rankings and would extend that buffer if he were to land an 11th career ranking title.

It’s all to play for at the Telford International Centre.


2024 Players Championship draw

Round of 16 (bo11)

Judd Trump 6-2 Chris Wakelin
Tom Ford 2-6 Ali Carter

Mark Williams 3-6 Mark Allen
Gary Wilson 6-4 Hossein Vafaei

Zhang Anda 6-5 Noppon Saengkham
Ding Junhui 4-6 John Higgins

Barry Hawkins 3-6 Mark Selby
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Zhou Yuelong

Quarter-Finals (bo11)

Judd Trump 4-6 Ali Carter
Mark Allen 6-4 Gary Wilson

Zhang Anda 6-4 John Higgins
Mark Selby 6-0 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Ali Carter 3-6 Mark Allen
Zhang Anda 6-5 Mark Selby

Final (bo19)

Mark Allen 10-8 Zhang Anda


Featured photo credit: WST

2 Comments

  1. A win for Zhang would secure a Champion of Champions place. I’d make Allen favourite but not by much as Zhang’s improvement has been so significant that he looks increasingly comfortable against the top players. His stay in the elite looks to be one that could stretch many years as opposed to an isolated season of excellence.

  2. Allen appearing in a 19th ranking final. A third for ‘Mighty Mouse’.

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