Shanghai Masters 2018 – Barry Hawkins joins Ronnie in the Final tomorrow

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Barry Hawkins will face Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final of the Shanghai Masters after defeating Ding Junhui 10-9 in a pulsating last four clash.

Hawkins now has the opportunity to defeat O’Sullivan in a final for the first time. He was denied the trophy in his only other showpiece meetings with the Rocket at the 2016 Masters and the 2013 World Championship.

Ding will go home disappointed, but has pocketed £60,000 thanks to his run to the last four.

England’s Hawkins took a slender 5-4 lead into this evening and pressed home that advantage early on to move 7-4 in front.

However, Ding wasn’t deterred won five in a row to himself move to the verge of victory at 9-7. Hawkins didn’t go away and fired in breaks of 101 and 60 to force a decider.

The Hawk held his nerve and produced a steely run of 67 to secure his place in tomorrow’s final where he will do battle with O’Sullivan for the £200,000 top prize.

Hawkins said: “It was great. Most of the crowd were on his side but I think a few were cheering for me. I felt pretty good. I got my chance and managed to hold myself together. To get into a big final like this is a really good start to the season.

“It would be amazing to win the tournament and lift the trophy. I know what I have got to do against Ronnie. You have to take chances and cut out silly mistakes. I’ve beat him before over a long distance. Although he has bashed me up most of the time. I just have to go out there and enjoy it. I’ve got nothing to lose.

Afterwards Ding admitted that he might have to be selective with which events to play in this season, with a packed calendar to choose from.

It is quite disappointing to lose the match this way, but I’ve had many worse tournaments so it is alright. It’s going to be a busy season with lots of tournaments. I have decided that I am going to pick and choose.”

No doubt, the Chinese crowd and the sponsors would have prefered to see Ding through. A final between the two “box office” players in Shanghai would have been a dream.

It wasn’t to be, although at 9-7 up Ding looked certain to win. Then Barry won the next frame and all a sudden you could feel that the match had turned. It’s hard to explain but it’s how I perceived it. When it came to the decider I was certain that Barry would win.

However, make no mistake, if both Ronnie and Barry play near their best we are in for a very high quality match. Anyone who watched their 2013 Final at the Crucible will know what I mean. Ronnie was probably playing his best ever snooker – himself said so – and it’s only when they reached the last session that Ronnie managed to shake Barry off. I wouldn’t make a prediction regarding who will win tomorrow, it will very much be about who is fresher and sharper on the day. The only certainties are that both want it badly and that Barry won’t be intimidated, nor will he give up.

2 thoughts on “Shanghai Masters 2018 – Barry Hawkins joins Ronnie in the Final tomorrow

  1. Just a few remarks on yesterday and today.

    Of course I one would like to see Ronnie in every tournament, but it is certainly better to see him in fewer tournaments where he is doing well than in more competitions where he goes out early, because he overplayed/overtravelled. Even last year he insisted a lot that he was only a “part time snooker player”, so I would venture that it is important for him to emphasize that snooker is not his whole life and that is just well. I have my doubts though about his enthusiasm for qualifying.

    But whatever happens tomorrow, it is obvious that Ronnie does not need a lot of tournaments/matches to do well and despite all our worries as they say he “hit the ground running” and played “cold” a lot better than others with a lot more matches under their belt.

    Yesterday’s match was quite an enthralling affair to watch, even when players were deep not a break you could never be sure when it will collapse. The 13th frame was for me a very weird experience, starting with a very bad break from Ronnie and some mistakes on both parts, mixed with spectacular points, and sure, it was remarkable that Kyren missed the blue frameball, but equally surprising how Ronnie did the same before him, only to pot a more difficult one…

    I felt it a little silly/irritating that in the interview it sounded as Ding’s appearance in the final was already a given. I did think that Hawkins had a chance of winning. Well, good luck to Ronnie tomorrow.

  2. I was interested to see whether the crowd would root more for Ding or for Ronnie, but I guess we’ll never know.

    Hard to believe that Ding could win 5 straight frames to go up 9-7, and then not pot a single ball in the final 3 frames…

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