Barry Hawkins claimed a 6-2 victory against Robert Milkins to book his place in the Champion of Champions semi-finals.
He was in flying form, sweeping away the world champion before he bested Milkins who had claimed a 4-2 victory against Mark Williams to gain a berth in the quarter-finals.
For Hawkins, it was a terrific day, but he had to work hard to claim the victory, with Milkins mounting a late comeback after going 4-0 down.
“Well happy to come through the group and to play well against Luca,” he told ITV Sport after the match. “It was horrible to be fair in the end. I think I lost a little bit of concentration but I finished well.”
Speaking on his excellent form this season, Hawkins added: “It’s been going alright so far this season, I’ve been going deep into most events. I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts because it doesn’t happen that often.”
“It can be difficult sometimes,” he added with regard to his concentration levels throughout the match. “When you have your opponent on the ropes you should be able to finish them off. But I should be putting them away really.”
It was a messy game, with Hawkins failing to repeat the dominant form he had shown earlier on Tuesday.
Despite that he took the first frame, coming back from going 20-52 down against his English compatriot, playing an excellent safety and clearing the table.
It was not long before Hawkins found himself back with cue in hand in the second, with ‘the Milkman’ seemingly rocked by the opening frame.
Hawkins would slot home a break of 55 to seal the second frame, with Milkins looking on the ropes after missing several chances.
That was the story of the match for Milkins, with Hawkins going on to take the third and fourth frames, after the 47-year-old had stuttered on several shots.
Sitting back in his chair, Milkins’ body language pointed to his disappointment and having gone 4-0 down, Hawkins looked in control.
It would require a monumental comeback from Milkins to change the tide of the game, but he rallied to take the fifth frame.
After a cagey start to the fifth, both players made errors in the opening exchanges. Some strategic play from Hawkins left Milkins in a tough snooker off the bottom cushion, and there was not much Milkins could do to find a shot, leaving the white touching a group of reds.
Hawkins took his chance, potting a red but uncharacteristically failing to pot the resulting blue. Milkins hit back, leaving his opponent with a tough angle in at the group of reds in the middle of the table, but high in confidence he managed to come away with a nine-point lead.
At 44-27, Milkins left his opponent scratching his head, with Hawkins going on to miss three shots for the green, gifting his opponent the points he needed to get his first frame of the night.
Milkins found his groove in the sixth and looked like he could claim another frame. But a poor safety would see Hawkins bounce back, knocking in a red, then the yellow, before picking off the remaining colours to go 5-1 up and one frame away from victory.
Milkins was not done, as he constructed a break of 81, his highest of the contest, to keep himself in the match.
It was not a vintage performance from Hawkins but he would finally end any hope of a Milkins comeback, winning the eighth frame with a run of 83 to book his place in the semi-finals.
Hawkins will now return on Friday for his first Champion of Champions semi-final.
Read the full article here