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Hawkins books O’Sullivan date after ousting Robertson at Masters

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Hawkins will play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last eight (Taka Wu / Alamy Stock Photo)

Barry Hawkins booked a Masters quarter-final date with Ronnie O’Sullivan after a 6-3 victory over Neil Robertson on Tuesday.

The Hawk had lost each of his last six meetings with the Thunder; a streak that began with a 6-3 defeat at Alexandra Palace in the 2019 quarter-finals while also including a 10-4 reverse in the 2022 final.

However, the two-time runner-up stopped the rot with a top break of 96 as he took advantage of an out-of-sorts Robertson, whose poor 2023-24 season continues despite hitting back-to-back centuries from 4-1 down.

Further runs of 69 and 57 saw Hawkins set up a showdown with seven-time champion O’Sullivan, against whom he will be out to avenge his humiliating 10-1 rout in the 2016 showpiece.

“I haven’t beaten Neil in a long time, so to beat him here is really pleasing,” he told BBC.

“We all know he’s been struggling for a bit of form. You could see he was not full of confidence, but he showed signs of coming back at me.

“I made a good break to go 5-3; that settled me down again. When he starts getting going, it’s quite frightening. It’s nice to finally get another win over him.”

The form book certainly favoured European Masters champion Hawkins, who has also reached the Champion of Champions and Northern Ireland Open semi-finals this season, and he took the opener with a 54 clearance along the way.

Robertson is currently 88th on the one-year list after a poor campaign littered with early exits. Rejuvenated after spending the festive period in his native Australia, he controlled the second frame to level, but the Hawk hit a top break of 96 as he won the next three for a 4-1 lead.

The two-time champion finally clicked into gear and demonstrated his trademark breakbuilding qualities with successive centuries of 117 and 110 reducing the deficit to a single frame.

But the Hawk was not to be denied with contributions of 69 and 57 seeing him into the quarter-finals.

On the prospect of facing O’Sullivan later this week, he added: “What an occasion to look forward to. This is his tournament really.

“I need to step it up again. I’ll go there and just give it my best.”

Earlier in the day, Judd Trump produced a nerveless 65 clearance to snatch a dramatic 6-5 victory over Kyren Wilson on the final black.

The reigning champion appeared in trouble at 3-0 down, but won the next five frames, before Wilson’s sublime 56 clearance in the 10th forced a decider.

The Warrior took control with a break of 51 before overcutting a tricky red to the right centre, and Trump pounced by dishing with 65 to prevail.

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Masters Snooker 2024 | Day Three Results

Tuesday January 9

Round One

Judd Trump 6-5 Kyren Wilson
Neil Robertson 3-6 Barry Hawkins