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Hawkins Sets Up Robertson Clash

Barry Hawkins eased to a 10-2 demolition of Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher to reach the second round of the Betfred World Championship.

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Hawkins holds a phenomenal Crucible record, today’s victory marks his 10th consecutive first round win at snooker’s Theatre of Dreams. He’s reached four World Championship semi-finals and a final and has now won 20 of his last 27 matches at the Sheffield event.

Next up Hawkins will face a mouth-watering clash against world number two Neil Robertson. They last met at the Crucible in 2015, when Hawkins edged a thrilling quarter-final meeting 13-12.

It was a steep learning curve for debutant Ursenbacher. However, he did make history by becoming the first Swiss player to reach the Crucible, after a narrow 10-8 win over Andrew Higginson in the final round of qualifying.

Hawkins came into this afternoon’s concluding session with a hefty 7-2 advantage. He made swift work of getting over the line this afternoon. Breaks of 84 and 53 helped him to three frames on the bounce, which sealed the 10-2 win.

Hawkins said: “I know he is a dangerous player and when he gets going, he goes for his shots. I felt like if I kept him tight, I would get my chances this way. A bit more experience under his belt he might develop his all-round game. It’s tough coming here first time. I lost 10-1 coming here first time. He did better than I did.

“The last few years I’ve managed to play some good stuff here. I’ve had some unbelievable matches along the way and I’d like to continue that nice form and that good record. But even getting to the quarters or the semis, you are still going home a loser and you are still not picking up the trophy. I’ll keep trying and see where it takes me.

“It is very strange out there. I found if very hard to concentrate yesterday. In spells I did, but in patches I felt quite flat. I would rather be here playing than not. You just have to remind yourself it is the World Championship, get your head down and give it your all.

“Neil has been in fantastic form this season and got himself back up to number two in the world. He is one of those players that can get on a roll and just steamroll you. HIs long potting is fantastic and his record shows that. It is a tough game, you can’t ask for much harder in the second round. If you have any aspirations of winning this tournament, you need to step up and beat them all. Especially players like Neil. I’m looking forward to seeing where my game is at.”