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Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden live stream | Players Championship 2022 preview

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John Higgins v Jimmy Robertson live stream | Players Championship 2022 preview

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Jimmy Robertson dethrones John Higgins at the Players Championship as Barry Hawkins seals final spot

Hawkins and Walden vie for a place in Sunday’s final (Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/PA Images)

Barry Hawkins and Ricky Walden do battle to claim the first place in the 2022 Players Championship final on Friday.

The opening last-four encounter at Aldersley Leisure Village in Wolverhampton brings a clash of the three-time ranking event winners.

Both players prevailed in deciding frames to reach their third Semi-Finals of the season, and are subsequently aiming to move a step closer to landing their maiden silverware.

It is the third time the pair have faced off at this stage of a ranking tournament.

Hawkins recovered from 12-8 down to prevail 17-14 at the 2013 World Championship, with Walden exacting his revenge courtesy of a 6-3 success at the 2016 Players Championship Grand Final.

One of two former winners still standing – along with John Higgins – Hawkins is making his fourth semi-final appearance in this tournament.

The 2014 champion did brilliantly to defeat in-form top seed Zhao Xintong 6-3 in the opening round.

He then withstood three centuries and a break of 98 as he recovered from 5-4 down to scrape past Yan Bingtao 6-5.

It now five years since Hawkins’ most recent ranking event success at the 2017 World Grand Prix, but he is just two victories away from ending that drought here.

You must go back a further two-and-a-half years for the last time Walden got his hands on a trophy – doing so at the 2014 International Championship.

Back in this event for the first time since reaching the 2016 final, in which he was beaten 10-6 by Mark Allen, the world number 18 has certainly made up for lost time.

First, he avenged that defeat by Allen; putting the Pistol to the sword 6-2. Walden then demonstrated superb determination from 5-2 down against Mark Williams in the quarter-finals; breaks of 65, 80 and 58 sealing a remarkable turnaround.

Play gets underway at 7pm GMT on Friday and will be contested over the best of 11 frames, with a live stream available in the UK and various other regions worldwide.

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