Barry Hawkins won the last five frames oh the last 16 round matche to beat Mark Allen 13-11 and reach the quarter-finals of the World Championship. Something of a Crucible specialist having reached the final in 2013 and the semifinals last year, Hawkins came good at the business end as he overturned an 11-8 deficit. A high quality contest featured five centuries and 12 more breaks over 50 in the 24 frames, and for much of it Allen looked the better player. The Northern Irishman led 9-7 going into the final session and extended his lead in the first frame with a break of 81. Hawkins pulled one back with a 50 before Allen’s 109 made it 11-8. In frame 20, Allen missed a blue and later lost a safety battle on the last red. Hawkins also got the better of a scrappy 21st frame to close to 11-10, then dominated the next to level the match. World number five Hawkins then made a 102 to lead for the first time. In frame 22 both players missed chances and it came down to the colours. Hawkins potted green and brown to lead by 16 points, then played safe on the blue. Allen potted a long blue then attempted a tough pink, but it missed its target, travelled around the table and left Hawkins an easy pot to seal victory.
“I seem to win that kind of match a lot here, I don’t know where it comes from,” said Ditton-based Hawkins. “I’m delighted to beat someone of Mark’s caliber. I felt I was getting stronger towards the end, but it was such a relief to pot the last ball.”
“I’ve won my first two matches 10-9 and 13-11 and used up a lot of energy. Last year I was wiped out by the semi-finals so I might need to win my next match 13-0 to have a chance of going any further. I’ll need to play better in the next round, especially if it’s against Neil Robertson.”
Neil Robertson made four centuries – including a tournament high break of 145, improving his 143 break from first round – in a 13-5 victory over Ali Carter to reach the quarter-finals. The Thunder from Down Under has been in tremendous form so far at the Crucible, conceding just seven frames in his two matches and making seven centuries. He led Carter 11-5 after the first two sessions, making top breaks of 60, 58, 129, 51, 115, 72, 119 and 71. The world number four took the first frame of the final session with a 41 clearance then made a stunning 145 total clearance. Robertson has won just one ranking event this season – the Wuxi Classic back in June – but insists he has practiced harder than ever for this tournament and looks to have peaked at the right moment.
“Last year I peaked a bit too early, this time I’m building up nicely. It will be a good match next against Barry, he’s got a good all-round game. Everyone wants to get to the one-table set-up.”
H2H: Robertson 7-5
Prediction: Robertson to advance.
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