Jimmy Robertson dethrones John Higgins at the Players Championship as Barry Hawkins seals final spot
Jimmy Robertson knocked defending champion John Higgins out of the 2022 Players Championship with a 6-4 Quarter-Final scalp on Friday, while Barry Hawkins booked his place in the final.
Robertson, the 2018 European Masters champion, progressed to his second ranking event Semi-Final of the season as he recovered from 2-0 down to deny Higgins.
A pivotal moment saw Higgins miss the final black in frame three to go 3-0 up, and Robertson grabbed a lifeline before turning the match on its head to complete a memorable victory.
“I’d probably rate that as my biggest result to date,” Robertson told ITV Sport. “One-table set-up in a big tournament.
“I won a tournament a few years ago which was a massive occasion to me, but one-table set-up against John Higgins, that’s probably my best result to date.
“I keep saying that over the years I’ve struggled playing the top boys on the one-table set-up. It still feels new to me and the more I keep getting there, I’m feeling more and more comfortable, I’m still learning.”
Higgins began strongly with breaks of 52 and 65 to take a 2-0 lead, but a costly missed black to kill off the third frame allowed Robertson off the hook to halve the deficit.
Back-to-back breaks of 57 and 59 saw Robertson hit the front at 3-2 before Higgins replied with a 68 break to restore parity.
Robertson regained the lead in style with a high break of 102 and followed up with a further half century to move within one of victory.
Higgins kept his hopes alive with a fine break of 80 and recovered from two snookers required to force a nervy finish in frame ten, but it was Robertson who held firm to get over the line.
The world number 38 will now face reigning Masters Champion Neil Robertson in Saturday’s second Semi-Final.
Barry Hawkins became the first man through to Sunday’s final after he closed out a commanding 6-2 victory over in-form Ricky Walden.
Hawkins, who lost out in last month’s Masters final, punished a below-par Walden to reach his first ranking final since the 2018 China Open.
“Ricky started off well and looked very confident but I think the second frame was a massive turning point,” admitted Hawkins.
“He looked odds-on to win it but missed a pink to the yellow bag and I made a good little clearance and it put him out of his rhythm a bit and he struggled from then on.
“It really did unsettle him I think.
“My concentration wasn’t great tonight, I missed a few balls but towards the end of the match I felt like I was getting involved.
“Whoever I play [in the final] it’s going to be a tough game, obviously Neil is a big favourite against Jimmy because of all the experience and tournaments behind him.
“It would be great if Jimmy won, he was almost off the tour last season and he’s done unbelievably well to get back in this position.”
Walden drew first blood with a break of 69 but lost the second frame despite making a 60 break as Hawkins snatched it to level up.
Hawkins then added the next two frames to open up a 3-1 lead before Walden got back on track after the interval with a break of 54.
Hawkins, though, hit back superbly with a break of 115 and followed up with breaks of 61 and 75 to wrap up a comfortable victory at the Aldersley Leisure Village.
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Players Championship 2022 Day Five Results
Friday February 11
John Higgins 4-6 Jimmy Robertson
Barry Hawkins 6-2 Ricky Walden