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Hawk Stays Ahead With Crucial Clearance

Barry Hawkins made a superb clearance in the last frame of the penultimate session of his semi-final battle with Mark Williams to lead 13-11.

Hawkins won the first session on Thursday 5-3 and has shared each of the next two 4-4 to maintain a two frame cushion. They return at 7.30pm tonight to play to a finish, with first to 17 frames to go through to the final to face John Higgins or Kyren Wilson.

London’s Hawkins is aiming to reach the final for the second time having lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2013. Williams conquered the Crucible in 2000 and 2003 and is playing his first semi-final since 2011.

World number six Hawkins made an excellent start today with a break of 128 to go 10-7 ahead. Williams fought back by winning two scrappy frames then making a 68 clearance in frame 20 to make it 10-10 at the interval.

Breaks of 53 and 133 from Hawkins put him 12-10 ahead, then Williams fired a 103 to halve his deficit. And seventh seed Williams looked set to square the contest until he missed the black off its spot on 50 in frame 24. Hawkins compiled a 73 clearance which include several excellent pots to give himself a handy advantage.