Barry Hawkins adds to Neil Robertson woes and talks up Ronnie O’Sullivan clash

Barry Hawkins got the better of Neil Robertson at Alexandra Palace (Picture: Getty Images)

Neil Robertson’s nightmare season continued on Tuesday night with a first round exit from The Masters thanks to a 6-3 defeat to Barry Hawkins.

The Hawk was in control for most of the match, opening up a 3-1 lead at the interval and then claiming the first after the game resumed.

The Thunder from Down Under then sparked into life, knocking in back-to-back centuries of 117 and 110, suddenly looking like a potent force again.

Hawkins regained control, though, making a 69 in the eighth and getting over the line in the next to book a quarter-final meeting with Ronnie O’Sullivan on Thursday.

Defeat at the invitational Masters event will put no further strain on Robertson’s world ranking, but it does represent another disappointing result in a season full of them so far.

The Australian has won just four matches in ranking tournaments this season and sits at number 88 on the one-year list. He enjoyed a break in his home country over Christmas to try and regroup mentally, but it didn’t lead to a result at Alexandra Palace.

Hawkins hadn’t beaten Robertson in a long-format match since the 2018 China Open and he was delighted to improve that record.

MrQ Masters Snooker 2024 - Day Three

Neil Robertson’s struggle for results continues (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I haven’t beaten Neil in a long time so to beat him here is really pleasing,’ said the Hawk. ‘We all know he’s been struggling for a bit of form. Coming into this match is a bit of pressure because he’s not done anything all season.

‘It was nice to get one over on him, you can see he’s not full of confidence, but he showed signs of coming back at me. It was nice to finish the match off.

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

Speaking to Eurosport, Hawkins said there were clear signs Robertson is struggling for confidence.

‘At the start of the match I could see he was taking his time a lot, he’s just not flowing as he would do normally because confidence is low,’ said the 44-year-old. ‘I could see maybe he was struggling.

MrQ Masters Snooker 2024 - Day Three

Hawkins will take on Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals (Picture: Getty Images)

‘He made a few unforced errors positionally, which he never normally does. That puts a bit of pressure on because you know it’s a good chance to take him.’

Next up for Hawkins is a blockbuster clash with the Rocket in the last eight and he is very much up for it.

‘What an occasion to look forward to,’ he said. ‘This is his tournament, really, over the last few years. I need to step it up again, I’ll go out there and give it my best.’


MORE :
Barry Hawkins on Masters memories, motivation struggles and Neil Robertson’s ‘strange’ season


MORE : Judd Trump leaves Kyren Wilson ‘absolutely sick’ after Masters slugfest

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