Hawkins has won two world ranking events
Barry Hawkins scored a surprise 6-4 win over Judd Trump to reach the final of the Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace.
Trump made four centuries in a record-breaking match against Neil Robertson yesterday, but he could not capitalise by reaching his first Masters final. It was another high quality contest today but a missed red from Trump when he led 4-3 proved vital as Hawkins won the last three frames.
Londoner Hawkins had lost his opening match in his previous five Masters appearances, but has knocked out Joe Perry, Mark Allen and Trump this week to guarantee at least a £90,000 pay day. Similarly, he failed to get beyond the last 16 of the World Chamnpionship in his first seven appearances at the Crucible, but then reached the final in 2013.
The player nicknamed The Hawk will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Stuart Bingham tomorrow over 19 frames with the winner to take home the famous trophy and £200,000.
World number eight Hawkins won the Riga Open in August then suffered a dip in form, notably losing to Robin Hull in the second round of the UK Championship. But his excellent safety game and composure under-pressure have been valuable weapons in this week’s run at snooker’s biggest invitation event.
Hawkins was off to a sensational start today as breaks of 130 and 128 put him 2-0 up. World number five Trump made 51 and 58 in battling back to 2-2 before 36-year-old Hawkins regained the lead with a 74. Bristol’s Trump responded with 103 and 72 to lead 4-3 but missed a red to a top corner early in frame eight and his opponent took advantage with 78.
A run of 100 saw Hawkins go 5-4 up. Both players had chances in frame ten and it came down to the last red. A loose safety from Trump allowed Hawkins to knock in a long pot to set up a match-winning clearance, highlighted by a superb pot on the blue. The Ditton-based cueman punched the air as he knocked in the pink to the delight of his supporters among the crowd of 1,800.
“I was surprised by how comfortable I felt out there, and I couldn’t have asked for a better start,” said Hawkins. “I knew I needed to get out of the blocks quickly against Judd because of how well he played yesterday. I’m really pleased by the way I played.
“It means everything to me to get through to another big final. I was just happy to win one match this week, so to get through to the final is a great achievement. I don’t care who I play tomorrow, I’ll just enjoy every moment because these things don’t come about that often. A while ago I got fed up and the travelling was getting me down, but in the end that spurred me on to practise harder. The hunger is back now.”
Trump said: “I had my chances, I just didn’t take them. I missed a few crucial balls and Barry played well. The red I missed at 4-3 cost me the match in the end because I was in control at that point. There was no pressure today, I felt really good. I can still take confidence from this week.”