2024 Masters: Barry Hawkins Eager for Ronnie O'Sullivan Clash

In a heated first-round clash at the MrQ Masters, Barry Hawkins emerged victorious with a 6-3 win over the formidable Neil Robertson. The post-match interview with Hawkins sheds light on his strategic approach, mindset, and the challenges he faced during the intense battle on the snooker table.

2024 Masters: Barry Hawkins Eager for Ronnie O'Sullivan Clash
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-01-10

6 minutes read

The Hawk’s Commanding Victory

Barry Hawkins asserted his dominance on Tuesday night, dealing a significant blow to Neil Robertson's challenging season with a convincing 6-3 victory in the first round of The Masters.

 

Hawkins exhibited control throughout the match, establishing a commanding 3-1 lead at the interval and extending his advantage with the first frame after the break. Despite Robertson's resurgence, marked by consecutive centuries of 117 and 110, Hawkins managed to regain control. A composed performance in the eighth frame, including a break of 69, enabled him to secure victory in the following frame, setting the stage for a quarter-final showdown with Ronnie O'Sullivan on Thursday.

Early Lead and Resilience

Hawkins, reflecting on the match, acknowledged the tough battle, especially in the first half of the game, emphasising the importance of safety play and the need to stick in there and fight hard for every opportunity. He stated, "A lot of good safety. We weren't giving each other nothing, so it was just a matter of just sticking in there really and battling hard for every chance."

 

The turning point came after the interval when Neil Robertson started to find his form. Hawkins managed to make a crucial break to go 5-3, providing the much-needed settling moment. Hawkins revealed, "It was important to make a good break there. But yeah, I felt pretty calm most of the time really. Great result for me."

 

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Tournament Triumphs and Seasonal Breaks

The 44-year-old, despite downplaying his confidence upon entering The Masters, brings a wealth of positive experience into the tournament. Reflecting on his recent victory at the European Masters and several semi-final appearances, Hawkins acknowledged the fleeting nature of confidence in the competitive world of snooker. His modesty about not coming in "full of confidence" contrasts with his impressive track record this season. 

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I can't complain the way this season has been going really. I would like to have maybe won a couple more matches here and there, that I feel like I threw away. But you're going to do that I think over a long season, I can't complain. I've qualified for everything, some of the big events coming up, so it's a lot of things to look forward to really.

Hawkins, when asked about his season as a whole so far.

The joy of a Christmas break and the distant memory of tournament triumphs, while perhaps diminishing confidence, has not deterred Hawkins. Having qualified for every major event and with several significant competitions on the horizon, he remains optimistic and eagerly anticipates the challenges that lie ahead.

O’Sullivan on the Horizon

Looking forward to his next match against the legendary Ronnie O'Sullivan, Hawkins maintained a positive outlook, emphasising the need to enjoy the occasion and focus on his own game. He shared insights from his experiences in big finals, stating, "Try not to play the player, and have a little bit of self-belief."

 

Addressing the challenge posed by O'Sullivan, mentioned the need to avoid letting him get away, recognising O'Sullivan as the best front runner in the world. Despite the predominantly pro-O'Sullivan crowd, Hawkins expressed anticipation for the match, emphasising the importance of relishing such moments as they become rarer with age.

 

Asked about the pressure of playing on the big stage, Hawkins commented on O’Sullivan’s recent documentary film, relating it to the commonality of pressure in the sport. He confessed to feeling nerves at the start of the match but revealed that once he got going, he could focus on the task at hand and enjoy the moment.

Hawkins’ Winning Formula

Reflecting on his rhythm during the match, Hawkins admitted he didn't feel in top form but praised his attitude, commitment, and the ability to give his all, even when not at his best. Discussing the persistent presence of flies and wasps at the venue, Hawkins shared a light-hearted moment of a wasps near demise.

 

Looking ahead, Hawkins outlined his post-match routine, which includes a little nosing at the ongoing games, practice sessions, and maintaining a normal day-to-day routine. He concluded with a glimpse into his off-table activities, including a visit to the gym and adhering to a healthy lifestyle.

 

In summary, Barry Hawkins' 6-3 victory over Neil Robertson showcased his resilience, strategic prowess, and determination on the snooker table. As he prepares to face Ronnie O'Sullivan in the next round, Hawkins remains focused, poised, and ready for the challenges that lie ahead in the 2024 Masters.

 

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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