Barry Hawkins is through to the semi-finals of the Masters for the second time thanks to 6-1 victory over close friend and defending world champion Mark Selby.
Hawkins started strongly with a break of 58 but the next few frames were a tense affair, with neither player able to get past the half century mark.
With Selby really struggling it was Hawkins who took advantage, knowing he had to seize his opportunity, and he moved into a 3-1 lead at the interval.
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After the break some fluency returned to Hawkins and he put together a break of 65 to move three frames up.
‘He didn’t even see the red flying across the table’ – Amazing fluke from Barry Hawkins
In the fifth frame a loose break from Hawkins potentially allowed Selby in but he was unlucky to find the cue ball nestled in amongst the reds. However the world champion got back to the table and put together a solid break until a poor miss in the far corner saw Hawkins returns to the table and get the perfect snooker with some luck.
Selby missed the only open red twice but hit It straight on to avoid the forfeit. However it was a double kiss and Dominic Dale on commentary was incredulous.
“I cannot understand why he’s played the double kiss shot there rather than just roll up to the red.”
Hawkins sunk the open red but still had work to do, and brilliantly opened up a bunch of reds on the bottom cushion and leaning over them he sunk another to the bottom left corner. But his luck ran out as the white cannoned into the remaining reds.
Selby then fouled again after a strong safety battle between the pair, and Hawkins was awarded a free ball.
It was an extremely tricky table to clear up but Hawkins landed some pressure pots and did what was needed to steal a frame that looked like it was Selby’s.
Selby nearly forfeits frame as Hawkins steals in
The seventh frame saw an early re-rack when the cue ball became nestled amongst the reds and after a brilliant red from Hawkins his break following that came to an end when he tried to pot the blue and get back down the table.
A tense safety battle followed before Hawkins eventually got in with a beautiful long red. As with previous frames the path ahead of him was difficult but with the raucous Ally Pally crowd roaring him on he took out the rest of the reds. However the yellow proved tricky and it temporarily brought an interested Selby back to the table. It didn’t last long however and the defending world champion conceded, sending Hawkins through to the last four where he will face another former world champion, Judd Trump.
“I think the scoreline flattered me to be honest,” Hawkins told Rob Walker after the match. “I nicked a couple of frames. Mark wasn’t at the races today, he struggled and I picked him off. I’m going to have up my game against Judd as he’s a potting and scoring machine. I’m delighted to be in the semis though, it was an amazing atmosphere.
“If you can’t enjoy this you might as well just go home. It’s the best atmosphere I’ve played in, in all my life.”
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Source: Euro Sports