A Funny Exchange On The Pink | 2022/23 European Masters

Hawkins Beats Ding To Reach Semis

Barry HawkinsBarry Hawkins became the first man into the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Players Championship as he beat Ding Junhui 4-2 in Manchester.

World number eight Hawkins had booked a flight tonight from Manchester to Beijing for the China Open – which starts on Monday – and arrived  at the venue this morning with his suitcase in tow. But he can now reschedule as a fine display against Ding put him into the last four to face Ali Carter or Ricky Walden on Saturday. Hawkins is aiming to win his third career ranking title and first since the 2014 Players Championship.

Ding now stands 16th in the projected rankings, with his chances of keeping his place in the top 16 very much in the balance, with only the China Open to come before the seeding axe falls for the World Championship.

Ditton’s Hawkins stormed into a 3-0 lead with top breaks of 62 and 77. He looked set to complete a whitewash in the next until he broke down on 49, and he later missed the third-last red with the rest. Ding gained a foothold in the match with a 46 clearance and won the next as well with a superb 127 to close to 3-2. But the fight back ended there as Hawkins made a composed break of 79 in  frame six.

“Changing my flight and booking back into the hotel is a nice problem to have,” said Hawkins after reaching his 14th ranking event semi-final. “I knew I had to perform well to beat Ding and that got me up for the match.

“Everyone knows this game is all in the mind. And my concentration was a lot better than it was earlier in the week. I got off to a great start and that put Ding under pressure which is something you have to do against him. I’m delighted with the way I finished the match off. That kind of thing does a lot for your confidence.”