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O’Sullivan Leads Hawkins 7-1

Ronnie O'SullivanRonnie O’Sullivan homed in on a sixth Dafabet Masters title by taking a 7-1 lead over Barry Hawkins in the final at Alexandra Palace.

O’Sullivan needs three more frames when the match resumes at 7pm to take the £200,000 top prize and equal Stephen Hendry’s record of six Masters crowns.

He is playing in his 11th Masters final and 63rd career match in the tournament. By contrast, Hawkins had never won a match at the Masters in five previous appearances.

Chigwell’s O’Sullivan has won the last eight matches between these two after Ditton-based Hawkins won their first meeting back in 2002.

After a few months away from the sport, O’Sullivan is playing his first televised tournament of the season and could be set to complete a triumphant return to the big stage.

O'Sullivan HawkinsThe afternoon session started well for world number eight Hawkins as he won a cagey opening frame by clearing from blue to black. But world number six O’Sullivan took the next two with breaks of 70 and 136.

Hawkins had a chance to win the fourth but missed a long pot on the final yellow when three points behind, and his opponent took advantage to go 3-1 up at the interval.

Hawkins also had opportunities in the next two frames but failed to capitalise as O’Sullivan forged 5-1 ahead. And the Rocket fired in runs of 77 and 72 to win the last two frames for a commanding lead.