China Open 2010: Allen Fightback Thwarts Hendry as Ding marches on

Having recovered from 2-1 down to lead Mark Allen 4-2 it looked like Stephen Hendry would go through to his first semi-final since the 2008 Bahrain Championship but Allen had other ideas as he rebounded to clinch a 5-3 victory…

Note that both my one and two year rankings lists have been updated.

Results from Global Snooker:

Stephen Hendry 4-5 Mark Allen
Ding Junhui 5-2 Peter Ebdon

Meeting for the first time in a ranking event since their Crucible clash back in 2008, both Stephen Hendry and Mark Allen looked good early on this morning as they exchanged big breaks for the first three frames before Hendry edged a tighter fourth to level up at 2-2 heading into the mid-session interval. On their resumption it looked like Allen would again go into the lead as he led 56-0 but surprisingly he ran out of position and at the second time of asking, Hendry cleared to take a big frame and move ahead for the first time.

As Hendry added the sixth frame to move 4-2 up, Allen looked to be getting visibly frustrated, particularly given how he had let that frame slip while Hendry looked composed and like he would take full advantage.

The key moment of the match however came in frame eight as Hendry had a chance to lay a decisive snooker on Mark behind the black with all of the reds spread far and wide. Unfortunately for the Scot he not only misjudged the shot and did not get the snooker, but having seen Allen then play the shot and get it right, he let his frustration get the better of him and simply played a ‘hit and hope’ shot at pace, putting little thought into his shot selection.

From here the match completely turned around as Allen suddenly looked in control again and Hendry became frustrated. At the start of the decider he had a couple of good chances but could only make 11 points and watch as Allen took a 5-4 victory with a break of 77.

It was very unusual to see Hendry let a match slip from such a position and he will be ruing that attempted snooker during the eighth frame. Mark Allen meanwhile moves into the semi-finals where he will face Ding Junhui who put in another dominant performance to send home the defending champion Peter Ebdon.

It will be interesting to see how that match unfolds as while I would make Ding a warm favourite, Mark seems to like playing in China and of course beat Ding 6-0 in the final of last summer’s Jiangsu Classic tournament…