Barry Hawkins reached the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship for the fifth consecutive year with a 13-6 defeat of Graeme Dott.
Hawkins is the only player to appear in the last eight at the Crucible every year since 2013 – when he was runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan. The Londoner will now face Stephen Maguire on Tuesday and Wednesday over 25 frames for a place in the semis.
It has been an excellent season already for Hawkins, highlighted by victory at the World Grand Prix in Preston in February, his third career ranking title. And the world number seven is determined to finish the campaign in style at his favourite venue.
Hawkins led 10-6 after the second session last night and dominated the first frame today, then went 12-6 in front with a 98, his highest break of the match. Scotland’s Dott, the 2006 World Champion, had chances in the next frame but couldn’t take them, and when Hawkins potted the penultimate red he was sure of his progress.
“I’m delighted to finish off quick,” said 37-year-old Hawkins. “It was a massive frame yesterday to nick that last one to go 10-6. I played pretty well throughout the match, not completely top form but I was solid in most departments. I was mentally strong out there which you have to be.
“In years gone by I’ve had some really gruelling matches in the last 16 and quarter finals, it takes it out of you. To finish 13-6 today was massive today. I was expecting Graeme to come out all guns blazing, but I kept him pretty cold and away from the table.
“The minute you start looking ahead, thinking ‘I’ll beat him, I’ll beat him’, that’s when you’re going home. I’ve got the utmost respect for Stephen Maguire, we grew up as juniors. I know how good he is and it was only a matter of time before he hit a bit of form again.
“He’s looking to have a really good run here to get himself back up the rankings again. He’s going to be fired up for it, but I’m looking forward to it. My record in the last few years has been good so I know what to expect.
“The person to beat is going to be John Higgins, we’re in the same half, whoever wins between me and Stephen has got a mammoth task on our hands, assuming he’s going to win.”
Dott said: “I never got enough out of the first two sessions. The last frame last night was pretty big, to make it 10-6 instead of 9-7. But today he looked great and looked a lot better than the first day.
“I got a lot of positives from the way I played against Ali Carter. It is disappointing that I couldn’t reproduce that.
“I said to Barry at the end ‘There is no reason why you can’t win it.’ He is ideal for the Crucible. I know everybody talks about Judd Trump being due to win it but Barry’s game is ideal for what you need here. His safety is fantastic, his long potting, especially from the cushions is ridiculous, he just doesn’t miss any long red. He’s got an all round perfect game.”