2024 Players Championship: Mark Selby Sets Up O’Sullivan Clash in the Quarters

In a riveting showdown at the 2024 Johnstone’s Paint Players Championship, Mark Selby emerged victorious against Barry Hawkins with a final score of 6-3. The match unfolded with intense back-and-forth exchanges, showcasing the skill and determination of both players. With this triumph, Selby advances to the next round, where he is set to face the legendary Ronnie O'Sullivan, setting the stage for an electrifying clash between two snooker titans.

Ronnie O'Sullivan prepares to take a shot
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-02-21

6 minutes read

Hawkins vs. Selby

In the final first round session of the 2024 Johnstone’s Paint Players Championship, Barry Hawkins squared off against Mark Selby in a highly anticipated clash, with the prospect of facing Ronnie O’Sullivan looming in the quarterfinals. The encounter commenced with a measured pace, as both competitors vied for early dominance on the green baize.

A Tense Opener

Neither Hawkins nor Selby sprinted out of the gate, each seizing opportunities to grasp the initiative in the opening frame. However, the tide shifted decisively when Selby, positioned for a critical pot on the pink, faltered with a surprising miss across the right middle pocket. Capitalising on this unexpected error, Hawkins stepped in and calmly dispatched a flawless black into the bottom pocket, leaving Selby in need of two snookers to salvage the frame. Demonstrating composure under pressure, Hawkins navigated a series of strategic safety exchanges around the yellow before clinching the frame after an intense struggle that spanned nearly 30 minutes.

Twists and Turns into the Interval

In stark contrast to the tightly contested opener, the second frame unfolded with a clear tilt towards Barry Hawkins. Seizing an early opportunity, Hawkins orchestrated a fluid break, notching an impressive 78 points in rapid succession. With this commanding display, he surged ahead to claim a 2-0 advantage in the match.

 

Although Barry Hawkins seemed poised to extend his lead further in the third frame, fortune took an unexpected turn. After accumulating a promising 25-point advantage, Hawkins attempted a shot on a red into the bottom right corner, only to falter, missing the pot and inadvertently dispersing the clustered balls. Despite Mark Selby's subsequent break of 37, Hawkins maintained the upper hand. Yet, following a brief exchange of safety shots on the final red, Selby capitalized on an opportunity to return to the table. With precision, he navigated the remaining colours, securing victory in the frame, with only the black ball left to seal the deal.

 

Amidst another gradual start in the fourth frame, the Jester from Leicester eventually found his rhythm, breaking the deadlock after a patient 20 minutes of play. Demonstrating his prowess, Selby orchestrated a notable break of 73, effectively squaring the match as the players headed into the midway interval on equal footing.

 

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Selby’s Fightback

In the fifth leg, Barry Hawkins made a decisive statement. With a commanding performance, he crafted a remarkable break of 91, surging ahead to regain a crucial one-frame advantage. 

 

It didn’t take Selby long to reply however, embarking on an impressive break in the sixth frame, amassing 56 points and establishing an early advantage. Although Hawkins was granted another opportunity at the table, Selby's tenacity prevailed through another round of strategic exchanges. Selby continued to add to his tally, ultimately securing the frame with an additional break of 30, levelling the match once again.

The Jester Cruises into the Quarters

Maintaining his momentum, Mark Selby carried his form into the seventh frame, culminating in a composed break of 66 to secure his inaugural lead in the fixture. Building on this newfound advantage, Selby proceeded to assert his dominance in the eighth frame, orchestrating a brisk break of 75 to create a comfortable margin, firmly solidifying his control of the match.

 

In a stunning conclusion, Mark Selby sealed the match with his fourth 50+ break, amassing 67 points and leaving Barry Hawkins with no chance of mounting a comeback. With this impressive performance, Selby solidified his advancement to the quarterfinals, where he is poised to meet his long-standing rival, Ronnie O'Sullivan. Anticipation mounts for what promises to be an enthralling encounter between two giants of the snooker world.

 

Image credit: World Snooker Tour (WST)

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Louis Hobbs

Louis Hobbs

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.

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