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Barry Hawkins pays tribute to “classy” Jackson Page after shock Crucible defeat

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Page stunned Hawkins 10-7 on Sunday (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Barry Hawkins heaped praise on “classy” Jackson Page following his surprise first-round defeat by the World Championship debutant.

The Hawk became the first seed to fall at the Crucible this year after going down 10-7 against the inspired 20-year-old.

Trailing 6-3 overnight, the 2013 finalist won four of the opening six frames on Sunday to cut the deficit to 8-7.

One of six Welshman in Sheffield this year, Page came through four qualifying rounds to secure his maiden appearance at the Crucible.

The world number 90 maintained his composure under intense pressure; producing back-to-back centuries of 128 and 135 to seal a remarkable victory.

And Hawkins was magnanimous in defeat as he paid tribute to his opponent.

“The way he finished off the match was very classy really,” he said. “For his first time here, he played very well.

“Every time I came close to him, he came up with the goods and didn’t really look like he was under pressure at any point in the match.

“Off the back of four hard wins in the qualifiers, he came here very sharp; he looked a lot sharper than I did, but all credit to him.

“I thought he might tweak towards the winning line, but there was no sign of that at all.

“I didn’t score very well throughout the match and the breaks I did make were unbelievably hard.

“He was making it look ridiculously easy. If he plays like that, he’s got a chance of going on a deep run here.”

The Hawk’s defeat ended a run of 11 successive victories in the opening round at the Crucible.

And he feels he was made to pay for a lacklustre opening session on Saturday.

“It’s not nice going out in the first round, especially as a seed,” he added.

“All the seeds are under pressure. All the qualifiers are coming through now; they’ve had plenty of experience, they’re match sharp and confident.

“Nowadays, you can’t afford to have a bad session and I did that yesterday. I didn’t feel like I was at the races and sometimes you leave yourself too much to do, especially when you’re playing someone that’s playing as well as that.”

Hawkins was not the only seed to fall on day two; 2005 champion Shaun Murphy went down 10-8 to two-time semi-finalist Stephen Maguire.