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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Barry Hawkins: Shanghai Masters 2018 final preview - Rocket and Hawk collide for glory

O'Sullivan and Hawkins shake hands (credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan looks to mark a dream start to the 2018/19 season by securing the Shanghai Masters title at the expense of Barry Hawkins on Sunday.

O'Sullivan, appearing in his first competitive event since April's Betfred World Championship, has quashed any suggestions of rustiness by storming to the final of the elite invitational.

The five-time World Champion claimed this title 12 months ago, one of his five ranking event triumphs last season, and is now bidding to retain the trophy and clinch the £200,000 winner's cheque.

The Rocket launched his run with a 6-3 victory over Neil Robertson in the Last 16 before brushing aside Essex rival Stuart Bingham 6-2. 

He then ended the unbeaten run of Kyren Wilson, the reigning Paul Hunter Classic and Six Reds champion, with a 10-6 success in the Semi-Finals.

O'Sullivan now comes up against Hawkins for the second successive year in Shanghai, having recorded a 5-0 whitewash when the pair met in the Last 16 in 2017.

Hawkins' run to a first televised final since April's China Open began with a 6-3 defeat of Stephen Maguire before a 6-4 victory over reigning World Champion Mark Williams.

The Kent cueist then came from 9-7 down to edge a thrilling contest with home favourite Ding Junhui thanks to a 67 break in the deciding frame.

The Hawk now has the chance to defeat his nemesis in a final for the first time, having won just two of their 12 previous meetings.

His last head-to-head triumph was an epic 13-12 scoreline in the Second Round of the 2016 World Championship having being thrashed 10-1 in the final of The Masters earlier that year.

Hawkins has compiled five century breaks this week, more than any other player in the competition, and will fancy his chances of tearing up the script in Shanghai.

The best of 21 final gets underway from 7am BST for a total of nine frames before being played to a conclusion from 12.30pm.


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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Barry Hawkins: Shanghai Masters 2018 final preview - Rocket and Hawk collide for glory

Ronnie O’Sullivan looks to mark a dream start to the 2018/19 season by securing the Shanghai Masters title at the expense of Barry Hawkins on Sunday.

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