The manner of Mark Allen’s comeback against Mark Selby yesterday was a textbook example of a player who never stopped believing he could win a match he seemed certain to lose.
After Selby won the lengthy seventh frame to lead 5-2 all logic dictated his eventual victory but Allen had other ideas.
The 26 year-old from Antrim is cut from the same snooker cloth as his fellow Northern Irishmen Alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor when it comes to determination and will to win.
Like these two former world champions, Allen is blessed with a stubborn streak which means he never stops trying.
He played superbly to close out victory in what was one of the best performances of his professional career.
Allen has of course made the headlines off table this week. The last time he was involved in such controversy was at the UK Championship where he also made the final.
Perhaps he needs this aggro to get him fired up. It’s a me-against-the-world attitude which has served him pretty well thus far.
Ultimately, though, a snooker player is judged by what he does on the table. If Allen wins the World Open title today then every credit to him. He is a fine talent and we have long been waiting for him to land a ranking crown.
Stephen Lee has come back into form after a few years in the wilderness. The Barry Hearn revolution, with its increase in playing opportunities, has allowed Lee to rediscover his touch.
And he is back playing the sort of snooker that made him a mainstay of the business end of tournaments a decade ago.
On the balance of what we’ve seen this week Allen will probably start favourite, but Lee has won four ranking titles and knows what it takes to prevail in these major finals.