By contrasting methods today, Matthew Stevens and Mark Allen ensured they would contest the final of the Haikou World Open.

While Stevens was taken to the wire by Neil Robertson in a lengthy battle, Allen played flawlessly to see off John Higgins.

Stevens has not appeared in a ranking tournament final since the 2008 Bahrain Championship, two and a half years ago. He has still won only one ranking title.

This week he has used three different cues. His own failed to make it off the plane so he borrowed first Mark Selby’s and then Mark Williams’s before reverting to old faithful.

The Welshman compiled seven half century breaks and finished off well in the decider as Robertson, not for the first time this season, failed to make good on promising early form in a tournament.

Allen was quite simply outstanding in beating Higgins 6-2. Higgins didn’t pot a ball in any of the last four frames. He was completely shut out and every part of Allen’s game was strong.

The defending champion had not been too happy with his form earlier in the event but must surely rate this as one of his best ever performances.

So the stage is set for an intriguing final. Stevens has endured a reputation as a bit of a nearly man, despite having won the UK Championship and Masters during his career.

Happy go lucky, he seems to have shrugged off the disappointments and would be a popular winner.

Allen, though, looks really good. The Northern Irishman knew he would have to play well against an in form Higgins and did. If he can maintain that intensity in the final then a title defence seems likely.


kildare cueman said...

Allen wont be as good against Stevens as he was against Higgins. I fancy Stevens to get an early lead, then Allen to come back and take over when the chips are down.

Ray said...

Who would have thought that Barry Hearn would be responsible for organising such an utter shambles of a tournament? Especially as it was ITV's first tournament for such a long time - pleased or what? World Snooker should take a good look at themselves.
Despite the trying circumstances there has still been some excellent snooker played.
Is the pest control absent at this competition or is this normal for this part of the country?
You couldn't make it up,it was like Billy Smart's Circus


Hi David. A great day's play, in today's Semi-Finals, in my view.

Stevens and Robertson, both played great. Stevens did well, to come from 5-4 down, to win, 6-5.

Allen played great, to beat Higgins, 6-2.

Allen .V. Stevens, in tomorrow's final. I can not wait for it. It should be a cracker.

Anonymous said...

Stevens obviously specialising in tournaments with no crowds.

Anonymous said...

This tournament has got to be a joke. Three years ago the World Open was in Glasgow with thriving crowds, music to introduce the players, lights shining, it looked fantastic. Now it's a shambles, prostituting the game for money to a place where noone is interested in the sport and noone wants to come and watch it with ridiculous ticket prices. Someone has to be held accountable for this farce, and the buck has to stop with Barry Hearn. I don't see the point in this urge to make snooker a global sport, it's predominantly a UK sport and the three main tournaments of the year are still held here. There's nothing wrong with that - it is what it is, and the events in China lack atmosphere and interest for the British supporters - needs a rethink.

Also, what a ridiculous mistake by Erjan Williams. To argue with television pictures showing where the balls where is farcical, arrogant, and he should not be allowed to referee latter stages at the World Championships this year as a result in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Agree, Haikou obviously hasn't worked crowd wise. World Snooker would have obviously realized this after a day or two, so could they not have slashed the ticket prices to help fill the seats?? They surely can't go back there next year, stick with Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai etc.

On another note David, I assume the Power Snooker scheduled for next Sat (9-10)has been scrapped? Went on to the powersnooker website this morning and see the video doesn't exist and there is no further info like the draw etc. A total waste of time in my opinion that event anyway. The shoot out recently in Blackpool is as far as the game should stretch away from the norm.

Anonymous said...

"I don't see the point in this urge to make snooker a global sport, it's predominantly a UK sport and the three main tournaments of the year are still held here."


Are you a tuppence short in the shilling or what, my laddie? A tour cannot survive on four BBC tournaments a year. The UK doesn't want snooker, or rather it only wants it in moderation. In China on average 10–20 million households tune in to snooker, and Ding's matches often peak around 30 million. That translates to TV audiences of 25-50 million, and peaking at 100 million, so in some cases snooker on TV in China draws a higher audience than the entire population of Britain. As for the lack of a live audience, well it is a bit disconcerting for Brits who judge the success of televised sport on the attendance of a few hundred people, but the UK is a country where pretty much any city is accessible from any other within a few hours drive. In a country as large as China which is largely provincial most people watch sport on TV. The high ticket costs are a factor but mostly it's a cultural thing. To quote JR Ewing, never pass up an opportunity to shut up and not look stupid!

kildare cueman said...

Think some bloggers are losing the run of themselves with their criticism of BH and WS.

As a whole, Hearn and WS are doing a fantastic job, transforming a virtually moribund circuit into a thriving tour in a few short years.

Snooker is no longer a UK based sport. Whether sentimentalists like it or not, it is now a rapidly growing world entity, and where theres rapid growth there will always be individual cases of mediocrity that will either be improved upon or scrapped in time.

Im grateful to be able to watch a tournament every other week, unlike the pre Hearn days when there was nothing between the masters and the worlds except the China open.

Johan said...

10:25: you are right: Eirian Williams never gets the balls repositioned correctly, with or without screen help. I mean: never.

Anonymous said...

is the Williams referee error on you tube?

The Blog said...

Watching the final on ITV 4, the background looks like a wall painted with blue squares to give the impression there are empty seats. :P

Anonymous said...

Even in the final, a whole section of seating empty. If the arena is not busy, at least seat what spectators there are in the area of seating predominately shown on tv.
Mental !

Anonymous said...

the audiences were sat on the side seats, largely out of site of tv cameras.

People at the event i china said there was not a good view from the seating behind the table that we were seeing on the televison.

Sometimes tv creates a false impression of the crowds.

Anonymous said...

Well done to Allen & Stevens

And thanks to ITV4 - I hope you meant "we'll see you soon".

(and thanks to Eurosport for showing the other table on the player at all times).

Anonymous said...

Whilst an earlier blogger is correct in that snooker cannot survive on the UK alone, that is no excuse for the off table shambles we have seen this week.

I have worked in a corporate events team for a very large global company, and I can assure you that had we put on an event with as many issues as this one, the Events Manager would have been moved the next Monday to another job & never allowed to manage an event again.

Hopefully sanity will return at Galway week after next.

Anonymous said...

Thought it might also be worth reminding people how big the arena in Glasgow was for that World Open:
"http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Sport/Pix/columnists/2010/9/21/1285096593633/Ronnie-OSullivan-has-been-006.jpg". I can only see 5 rows of people - even for RO'S - meaning that the arena only held what 300 people. And they still couldn't fill it - even though they were offering all day general admission tickets for £5.

When Ding plays in the UK there is usually a significant number of chinese in the audience, so it is a little perplexing that audiences are always so thin. Can't blame Barry for this - at Premier League events Barry's staff have been known to get people to move to the front to try and make the arena look full, but presumably its the local promoter running the show?

Anonymous said...

to anon at 10.25

Selective memory on World Open in Glasgow.
I was at the vent and it came in for a lot of criticism at the time.

Lack of pre event marketing. Nobody in Glasgow knew the event was even on.

Blocks of seat covered up with black cloth so they didn't look like empty seats.

I can't remember the ticket prices but I do remember a couple of comments about them being too high for the catchment area.

If we are to be objective then we need not to look back at past events through rose tinted glasses!

Anonymous said...

If the area where the event is relatively inaccessible, don't have it there.

Andrei said...

The event in Glasgow was staged in a pretty small arena as you can see in this pics
But either way, it was a full house, a thing i have rarely seen in China.Another thing I don't understand is the thing that there are no music intros in china, like the ones at the european events.I never really understood this, the entrances make it really fun in my opinion.