Former champion Williams eases past Lines in opening German Masters qualifier

Mark Williams began his quest for a third German Masters title with a 5-1 win over Oliver Lines in the first round of qualifying on Tuesday morning.

The Welshman was never in any danger against world number 68 Lines with breaks of 77 and 81 in leading 3-0 the highlight of his performance as he secured a last-64 clash with Chang Bingyu or Oliver’s father Peter Lines on Wednesday afternoon.

The last 32 qualify for the final venue with the Tempodrom in Berlin staging the tournament between 26-30 January 2022, which you can stream live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com.

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It was an ideal way for Williams to put the disappointment of his Northern Ireland Open exit behind him after seeing John Higgins recover a 3-0 deficit to complete a 4-3 win in the last 16 last week.

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Williams has performed well at the German Masters, winning the title twice with a 9-1 drubbing of Graeme Dott in 2018 and a 9-7 victory over Mark Selby a decade ago.

He also lost 6-4 to John Parrott in the 1998 final when it was an invitational event.

Latest German Masters qualifying results

  • Mark Williams 5-1 Oliver Lines

– – –

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Williams eases past Lines in opening German Masters qualifier, Xintong powers home four centuries

Mark Williams began his quest for a third German Masters title with a 5-1 win over Oliver Lines in the first round of qualifying on Tuesday morning.

The Welshman was never in any danger against world number 68 Lines with breaks of 77 and 81 in leading 3-0 the highlight of his performance as he secured a last-64 clash on Wednesday afternoon with Chang Bingyu, who defeated Oliver’s father Peter Lines 5-2. .

The last 32 qualify for the final venue with the Tempodrom in Berlin staging the tournament between 26-30 January 2022, which you can stream live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com.

German Masters

Maguire and McGill advance in opening German Masters qualifiers

16 HOURS AGO

It was an ideal way for Williams to put the disappointment of his Northern Ireland Open exit behind him after seeing John Higgins recover a 3-0 deficit to complete a 4-3 win in the last 16 last week.

‘Amazing how well he is playing!’ – Williams wears slipper to combat gout

Williams has performed well at the German Masters, winning the title twice with a 9-1 drubbing of Graeme Dott in 2018 and a 9-7 victory over Mark Selby a decade ago.

He also lost 6-4 to John Parrott in the 1998 final when it was an invitational event.

Chinese wonderkid Zhao Xintong hit four centuries in a stunning 5-3 comeback win against Stuart Carrington in his first round qualifier.

World number 29 Xintong opened with a brilliant 141 only for Carrington to reel off three frames, including a 58 break in the fourth frame, to lead 3-1, but he failed to score a point after the mid-session interval as his opponent made breaks of 114, 85, 136 and 123 to reach the last 64.

He will face compatriot Pang Junxu, who overwhelmed Dean Young 5-1, finishing with knocks of 70, 60 and 103.

Latest German Masters qualifying results

First round

  • Mark Williams 5-1 Oliver Lines
  • Chang Bingyu 5-2 Peter Lines
  • Zhao Xintong 5-3 Stuart Carrington
  • Pang Junxu 5-1 Dean Young

– – –

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Williams eases past Lines in opening German Masters qualifier, Xintong powers home four centuries

Mark Williams began his quest for a third German Masters title with a 5-1 win over Oliver Lines in the first round of qualifying on Tuesday morning.

The Welshman was never in any danger against world number 68 Lines with breaks of 77 and 81 in leading 3-0 the highlight of his performance as he secured a last-64 clash on Wednesday afternoon with Chang Bingyu, who defeated Oliver’s father Peter Lines 5-2. .

The last 32 qualify for the final venue with the Tempodrom in Berlin staging the tournament between 26-30 January 2022, which you can stream live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com.

German Masters

Maguire and McGill advance in opening German Masters qualifiers

17 HOURS AGO

It was an ideal way for Williams to put the disappointment of his Northern Ireland Open exit behind him after seeing John Higgins recover a 3-0 deficit to complete a 4-3 win in the last 16 last week.

‘Amazing how well he is playing!’ – Williams wears slipper to combat gout

Williams has performed well at the German Masters, winning the title twice with a 9-1 drubbing of Graeme Dott in 2018 and a 9-7 victory over Mark Selby a decade ago.

He also lost 6-4 to John Parrott in the 1998 final when it was an invitational event.

Elsewhere, Chinese wonderkid Zhao Xintong hit four centuries in a stunning 5-3 comeback win against Stuart Carrington in his first round qualifier.

World number 29 Xintong opened with a brilliant 141 only for Carrington to reel off three frames, including a 58 break in the fourth frame, to lead 3-1, but he failed to score a point after the mid-session interval as his opponent made stunning breaks of 114, 85, 136 and 123 to reach the last 64.

He will face compatriot Pang Junxu, who overwhelmed Dean Young 5-1, finishing with knocks of 70, 60 and 103.

Latest German Masters qualifying results

First round

  • Mark Williams 5-1 Oliver Lines
  • Chang Bingyu 5-2 Peter Lines
  • Zhao Xintong 5-3 Stuart Carrington
  • Pang Junxu 5-1 Dean Young

– – –

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Williams eases past Lines in opening German Masters qualifier, Xintong powers home four centuries

Mark Williams began his quest for a third German Masters title with a 5-1 win over Oliver Lines in the first round of qualifying on Tuesday morning.

The Welshman was never in any danger against world number 68 Lines with breaks of 77 and 81 in leading 3-0 the highlight of his performance as he secured a last-64 clash on Wednesday afternoon with Chang Bingyu, who defeated Oliver’s father Peter Lines 5-2. .

The last 32 qualify for the final venue with the Tempodrom in Berlin staging the tournament between 26-30 January 2022, which you can stream live and on demand on discovery+, the Eurosport app and eurosport.com.

German Masters

Maguire and McGill advance in opening German Masters qualifiers

20 HOURS AGO

It was an ideal way for Williams to put the disappointment of his Northern Ireland Open exit behind him after seeing John Higgins recover a 3-0 deficit to complete a 4-3 win in the last 16 last week.

‘Amazing how well he is playing!’ – Williams wears slipper to combat gout

Williams has performed well at the German Masters, winning the title twice with a 9-1 drubbing of Graeme Dott in 2018 and a 9-7 victory over Mark Selby a decade ago.

He also lost 6-4 to John Parrott in the 1998 final when it was an invitational event.

Elsewhere, Chinese wonderkid Zhao Xintong hit four centuries in a stunning 5-3 comeback win against Stuart Carrington in his first round qualifier.

World number 29 Xintong opened with a brilliant 141 only for Carrington to reel off three frames, including a 58 break in the fourth frame, to lead 3-1, but he failed to score a point after the mid-session interval as his opponent made stunning breaks of 114, 85, 136 and 123 to reach the last 64.

He will face compatriot Pang Junxu, who overwhelmed Dean Young 5-1, finishing with knocks of 70, 60 and 103.

Former UK champion Stephen Maguire booked his place in the last 32 in Berlin with a 5-1 win over Yuan Sijunafter a 5-1 victory over Dominic Dale on Monday.

Maguire moved 4-0 clear boosted by a couple of 69s. Yuan prevented the whitewash with a 61 before the Scotsman finished off matters with a closing 67.

Watch: Emotional final moments as McGill beats O’Sullivan

He was joined in the final stage in the German capital by fellow Scotsman Anthony McGill, who completed a 5-2 victory over Jamie O’Neill.

Former Crucible semi-finalist McGill rolled in breaks of 80, 68, 87 and 108 in a dominant display.

Zhou Yuelong overcame Zak Surety 5-3 to ensure his flight to Germany with the heavy-scoring Tom Ford overwhelming Allan Taylor 5-1 in his second-round match courtesy of breaks of 59, 63, 84, 53, 84 and 84.

Latest German Masters qualifying results

First round (round of 128)

  • Mark Williams 5-1 Oliver Lines
  • Chang Bingyu 5-2 Peter Lines
  • Zhao Xintong 5-3 Stuart Carrington
  • Pang Junxu 5-1 Dean Young

Second round (round of 64)

  • Stephen Maguire 5-1 Yuan Sijun
  • Anthony McGill 5-2 Jamie O’Neill
  • Zhou Yuelong 5-3 Zak Surety
  • Tom Ford 5-1 Allan Taylor

– – –

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Maguire and McGill advance in opening German Masters qualifiers

Stephen Maguire completed a 5-1 win over Dominic Dale with fellow Scot Anthony McGill enjoying a 5-2 success against Louis Heathcote in their respective opening qualifiers for the German Masters in Cannock.

The former UK champion lost 9-7 to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final of the 2012 Berlin event and made breaks of 60 and 93 in a dominant win against former Shanghai Masters winner Dale, who defeated him 5-4 in the last 32 of last season’s German Masters in Milton Keynes.

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Maguire will face Yuan SiJun in the last 64 after the world number 100 rolled in 55, 103 100 and 88 to overcome Germany’s Lukas Kleckers.

Former world semi-finalist Anthony McGill won the last three frames against world number 92 Heathcote to advance.

McGill opened with 65 and 79 before his opponent levelled at 2-2 with knocks of 56 and 59, but the Scotsman finished strongly with runs of 80 and 96 helping him progress to a last-64 meeting with Jamie O’Neill, who edged out Hammad Miah 5-4.

Tom Ford overcame Joe O’Connor 5-4 with efforts of 53, 60 and 58. Former Welsh Open semi-finalist O’Connor ran in 140, 62 and 99 in a high-quality encounter.

‘Look at that!’ – Zhou shows class with brilliant opening red

Peter Devlin compiled the highest break of the event so far with a 143, a rare bright spot in a 5-1 loss to Zhou Yuelong, who knocked in 102, 53 and 76 in victory.

The last 32 qualify for the final venue with the Tempodrom in Berlin staging the tournament between 26-30 January.

German Masters qualifying results

  • Anthony McGill 5-2 Louis Heathcote
  • Hammad Miah 4-5 Jamie O’Neill
  • Zhou Yuelong 5-1 Peter Devlin
  • Zak Surety 5-2 Mark Joyce
  • Ashley Hugill 4-5 Allan Taylor
  • Tom Ford 5-4 Joe O’Connor
  • Lukas Kleckers 2-5 Yuan SiJun
  • Stephen Maguire 5-1 Dominic Dale

– – –

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Northern Ireland Open

Can Allen emulate fellow Northern Irish icon Higgins by winning world title?

9 HOURS AGO

Northern Ireland Open

‘One of the all-time greats’ – Allen pays tribute to Higgins after Northern Ireland Open win

15 HOURS AGO

Can Allen emulate fellow Northern Irish icon Higgins by winning world title?

There was something strikingly familiar about it all. A popular, mercurial and outrageously talented Northern Irish crowd-pleaser, cradling his daughter and trophy before a raucous, animated and riveted audience, splendidly celebrating the most emotional victory of his career with the name of Higgins again a pivotal part of the narrative.

Mark Allen’s enthralling and wildly undulating 9-8 victory over the four-times world champion John Higgins in the final of the Northern Ireland Open at the magnificent Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Sunday evening invoked the spirit of his fabled compatriot Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins by claiming first prize amid some uniquely manic goings on.

All at once, it brought back some stirring memories of the Hurricane conquering the Crucible in 1982.

Northern Ireland Open

‘One of the all-time greats’ – Allen pays tribute to Higgins after Northern Ireland Open win

8 HOURS AGO

When Higgins – the ultimate working class hero from Sandy Row in Belfast – finished off Ray Reardon 18-15 with a hectic break of 135 in the final frame in Sheffield 39 years ago, he famously held his baby daughter Lauren and his second world title in perfect harmony.

The likeable and loquacious Allen warmly clasped his daughter Harleigh alongside the Alex Higgins Trophy, a title fittingly named after the celebrated ‘People’s Champion’ as a tribute to his hall of fame achievement, popularity and contribution to the growth of snooker during the advent of the professional game’s televised boom of the 1980s.

‘Pioneering moment’

The Antrim man – nicknamed ‘The Pistol’ since he turned professional in 2005 – achieved a pioneering moment for Northern Irish snooker even by modern day standards in shooting for the stars.

Despite such moments of sporting folklore, Alex Higgins never managed to achieve such a rousing ranking tournament success in his home city of Belfast during his rampaging 26-year career that saw him lift the Irish Masters with a 9-8 victory over Stephen Hendry at Goffs across the border in 1989.

Neither did the 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor, who completed several wins over the Hurricane at the gone but not forgotten Irish Professional Championship in Belfast.

“I can’t actually believe it,” said Allen. “I really wanted to play John because, especially here in front of my home fans, he is one of the all-time greats.

“It’s just a pleasure to play against him and any win against John is a big win. To do it here is a dream come true for me.

I have tried to play it down all week, but I know what this means to me, and I know what it means to the people here, so to win this trophy is a special moment that I will never forget.

Just like the Hurricane, a true sporting hell-raiser, in his pomp, the locals were hooked on every stroke and run of the ball at the Waterfront Hall when all looked lost for their local idol in trailing 8-6 from 6-5 clear and appearing to be down and out as Higgins bobbed and weaved his way majestically to 4-4 with one of the most splendid 48 clearances you will witness.

‘He’s done it the hard way’ – O’Sullivan praises Allen after Northern Ireland Open win

Just like the Hurricane’s understated ability to mix up attacking instinct with thoughtful tactical adroitness, Allen chipped away at his opponent with some inspired matchplay combat. He dominated a scrappy 15th frame with Higgins appearing to stumble in his thought process at the key point after making breaks of 59, 64 and 136 to brilliantly assume control.

‘Downfall’

Two shots probably contributed to the rejuvenated Scotsman’s downfall. A missed black off the spot from a tough angle with white close to a side cushion leading 31-0 when a telling safety seemed the more logical shot choice in the 16th frame was key, enabling Allen to contribute 58 on his way to restoring parity at 8-8.

His decision to roll in a green in the death throes of the decider and go for a longish red that he butchered leading 28-27 was arguably another self-harming error. A snooker behind the green may have yielded more rewards at such a taut point of the contest with only three reds remaining and adding the pressure of opting against an obvious percentage shot.

Watch one of the greatest clearances in snooker history from Higgins

For Allen, it does not matter. All that counted in final analysis was showing the character and discipline to succeed where his teak tough opponent unusually faltered. For that reason alone, it was hard to dispute the point that Allen was not a worthy winner of an event that has tortured him over the years.

Astonishingly enough, Allen’s greatest performance until this week at the Northern Ireland Open was reaching the last 16 in 2019. For a player of such obvious natural ability and inimitable shot-making instinct, it is a record that is bewildering, but one that is matched by his shortcomings at the World Championship.

Allen’s most poignant run at the Crucible was reaching the semi-finals in 2009 when he lost 17-13 to John Higgins from 13-3 behind with quarter-final appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2018 other noteworthy but slightly disappointing highlights for a figure boasting such vitality.

‘Engaging technique’

There are similarities between the Hurricane and the maverick quality of Allen in having unusually short, sharp and engaging techniques, but also in coping with turmoil away from the baize.

Allen has suffered relationship break-ups, mental turmoil and declared himself bankrupt a few weeks after losing 13-7 to Mark Selby in the World Championship last 16 in May. Back in the day of the snooker craze, he would have made for classic tabloid fodder like Higgins, but he is still standing.

Judging by his efforts in Belfast, he is still potting too.

He started his campaign by compiling the 170th 147 maximum in snooker history and finished it with the title. He was 3-0 behind the world number one Judd Trump, but clawed his way back into the light with a 5-3 victory in the quarter-finals.

Like the Hurricane, Allen – a six-times ranking winner who is 11th on the all-time century list with 500 ton ups to his name – can be an unstoppable force when the mood takes him.

This is a bloke who once lifted the Scottish Open in 2018 while downing lager all week with a 9-7 final win over Shaun Murphy a week after losing 10-6 to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the UK Championship final with Eurosport analyst Jimmy White amusingly suggesting a few curers in the final session to improve his mood.

Perhaps he will be inspired by John Higgins’ ability to lose some weight in recent months to improve his own sense of well-being, but that is all down to personal choice.

Allen’s ability as a true snooker titan has never been in doubt having lifted the Masters in 2019 and the Champion of Champions trophy last season.

Making good on his early season and early career promise is the challenge.

‘Muscle memory’

Consistency of stroke and concentration rather than shot selection are attributes that have arguably eluded him and plenty of his peers over the years, but not in Belfast when it mattered most. Not when the Pistol was staring down the barrel.

“You would think over the years, that shots are always in your locker,” Allen once told me at the Crucible. “Maybe even through muscle memory.

I think snooker is the most mental game going, you’ve so much time alone with your thoughts. And that isn’t a good place to be.

“But it is easy to get on a roll. I sometimes have to remember that I’m a good player, and have done well in the game so far. Sometimes you have to go back to basics, and enjoy it for what it is.

“For too long, I was working on so much, and I would forget to hit the shot. I’m going to go out to do what I did as a younger player, be aggressive and see where it takes me.”

Watch clearance from ‘toughest yellow since Thorburn in ‘83’ as Allen shows huge ‘bottle’ in 147 bid

Snooker remains a game that can be mastered, but always only momentarily. Even by the game’s greats such as John Higgins. It is extending the moments you crave that matter.

“Mark will have one of the best memories of his life,” said a magnanimous Higgins after what was a sore defeat.

‘Mark will have one of the best memories of his life’ – Higgins pays tribute to Allen

Where Allen’s voyage goes from here, he will always remember the time when he won before his home crowd. The night when his dreams came true in Belfast in the autumn of 2021.

At the age of 35, in snooker terms at least, he is still in the summer of his dreams.

He may argue he would not swap the Northern Ireland Open triumph for anything, but he would. A world title is not beyond his grasp if he wants it badly enough.

Desmond Kane

How the Pistol fired to claim Belfast title

  • Round 1: 4-1 v Si Jiahui (Chn)
  • Round 2: 4-2 v Peter Devlin (Eng)
  • Round 3: 4-1 v Matthew Stevens (Wal)
  • Last 16: 4-3 v Stephen Maguire (Sco)
  • Quarter-final: 5-3 v Judd Trump (Eng)
  • Semi-final: 6-3 v Ricky Walden (Eng)
  • Final: 9-8 v John Higgins (Sco)

– – –

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Northern Ireland Open

‘He’s done it the hard way’ – O’Sullivan praises Allen after Northern Ireland Open win

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Ronnie O’Sullivan on Mark Allen: ‘He’s found that perfect thing – consistency’

Mark Allen made it to the final of his home event for the first time and he had major support at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. He opened up an early advantage and led for sizeable portions of the contest. John Higgins came on strong to take a lead but Allen won the final frame to land the Northern Ireland Open for the first time

00:00:59, an hour ago

‘I could just about stand!’ – Allen on surviving late crowd drama

Mark Allen admitted a late ruckus in the crowd was the last thing he needed after securing a maiden Northern Ireland Open title.

Allen was amongst the colours in his decider with John Higgins when a member of the audience appeared to leave, throwing him off his rhythm and forcing the referee to urge everyone to remain seated.

The 35-year-old steadied to pot the yellow, finishing with a flourish to pink as he completed a 9-8 comeback win on home soil.

Northern Ireland Open

‘I started to really panic!’ – Allen on triumph

14 MINUTES AGO

“It didn’t help that the guy was trying to leave when I was trying to pot the yellow,” admitted Allen to laughs from the remaining Waterford Hall crowd.

“I could just about stand up at that point. But I can’t actually believe it because from 6-5 up, I didn’t really see a ball until I was 8-6 down.”

Late crowd drama as Allen wins Northern Ireland Open

Allen also secured a £5000 bonus for the tournament’s highest break after making a 147 maximum in qualifying.

It was his first ranking title since the 2018 Scottish Open and an emotional one given the location.

“I’ll be honest, I was trying to not think about the crowd… I was trying to just take one ball at a time,” he said.

“But when I potted the red over the pocket to bring the last red out, I started to really panic.

I knew that they were all there [the colours] and all you can really do there is fall apart.

‘Mark will have one of the best memories of his life’ – Higgins pays tribute to Allen

He added: “I don’t usually get past round one here, it’s a real bonus!

“I’ve tried to play it down all week but I know what this means, what Northern Ireland snooker means to these people, and to keep this trophy here in Northern Ireland is a special, special moment I’ll never forget.”

Allen reserved special praise for his opponent, who had looked set to win after opening up an 8-6 advantage in the Belfast showdown.

“What a guy John Higgins is. I said last night I really wanted to play John,” continued Allen.

“Especially with the home fans, I wanted to play one of the all-time greats. John is right up there.

“He’ll not like me for saying this but he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever wish to meet. He just makes it so hard for you all the time.

Any win against John is a big win and to do it here is a dream come true for me.

– – –

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Northern Ireland Open

‘Mark will have one of the best memories of his life’ – Higgins pays tribute to Allen

16 MINUTES AGO

Northern Ireland Open

Late crowd drama as Allen wins Northern Ireland Open

29 MINUTES AGO

Allen claims thrilling final-frame victory over Higgins to win Northern Ireland Open

Mark Allen produced a brilliant burst to win the final three frames to beat John Higgins 9-8 in a thrilling final of the Northern Ireland Open.

Higgins produced a fine run of his own to seemingly take charge of the contest in Belfast, moving to the brink of victory at 8-6.

Allen had looked rocky under Higgins’ fine run, but he found reserves and roared on by his home fans, he produced three frames of excellent play under intense pressure to get his hands on the Alex Higgins Trophy for the first time.

Northern Ireland Open

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Fans were starved of snooker in 2020, with the majority of events played behind closed doors, and the crowd at the Waterfront Hall lapped up the occasion.

They were treated to a final-frame shootout, which went to Allen as he landed the trophy he craved the most.

Allen could have been a little hungover following Higgins’ brilliant clearance to pinch the final frame of the first session, but he showed no signs of it as he knocked in a break of 70 to take the first frame of the evening.

Watch one of the greatest clearances in snooker history from Higgins

Frame 10 went to Higgins, who secured it via a calculated risk. On a break of 63, Higgins refused a pot at a red which was frame-ball, a decision which surprised Neal Foulds on commentary for Eurosport.

“I am absolutely amazed he did not have a go at that,” Foulds said. “Will he get a chance from here to win the frame?”

Higgins is a four-time world champion, and he clearly calculated on winning the safety battle. He thought correct as Allen coughed up an error, and the Scot stepped in to level.

The pair have often delivered tight encounters in their meetings, the most recent was a 6-5 win for Higgins at the 2021 Masters, and the crowd at the Waterfront Hall sensed something similar.

Allen hit back with an 85 to lead again, but Higgins drew level at 6-6 at the mid-session interval. Potting wows the crowds, but snooker fans also appreciate excellent safety. Higgins produced a shot of the highest order – going up and down the table off side and bottom cushion to nestle behind the yellow.

‘As good as it gets!’ – Allen sinks beauty in final

Allen’s hit-and-hope escape did not pay off, and Higgins cleared to the pink to level at the interval.

Higgins has no fear of long matches, and four hours into the contest he edged himself in front for the first time in the match.

A long red set up a break of 64 and it proved enough, as an Allen counter was stopped in its tracks by a missed black with the rest – which was not his first miss of the night with it.

Another error with the rest from Allen followed in the 14th frame, and it proved extremely costly. He got in with a fluke, but missed with the rest and Higgins stepped in with a superb clearance of 136. His cue-ball control was as good as at any time in the match, demonstrating he does not fear the pressure situations.

Allen refused to go down without a fight and took a cagey 15th frame. He secured it after a series of visits in which he kept potting reds but failing to drop on colours – only to put Higgins in trouble and keep picking off balls.

The fans craved a final frame, and they got what they wanted as referee Olivier Marteel struggled to keep a lid on the crowd.

Higgins had a chance, but missed a tough black and after a tense bout of safety that had the majority of the crowd playing every shot, Allen got the key pots to force a 17th frame.

‘Mark will have one of the best memories of his life’ – Higgins pays tribute to Allen

Higgins got in first in the decider, but took five and a half minutes to make 21. Ronnie O’Sullivan famously made a maximum in the same timeframe.

Chances came and went for both as the tension ramped up, but it was Allen who got the opening he craved. He produced an excellent shot to develop a red on the side cushion and it set him up to secure the title, as Belfast celebrated with their home favourite.

Northern Ireland Open

‘As good as it gets!’ – Allen sinks beauty in final

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Northern Ireland Open

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