2022 Players Championship – Semi-finals Round-up

We will have a repat of this year’s Masters final in Wolverhampton: indeed Barry Hawkins and Neil Robertson both prevailed in their semi-finals matches.

Neither semi-final was close which was a bit disappointing.

Here are the reports by WST:

Barry Hawkins 6-2 Ricky Walden

Hawk Flies Through To Final

Barry Hawkins is through to the eighth ranking final of his career after a comfortable 6-2 defeat of Ricky Walden at the Cazoo Players Championship in Wolverhampton.

The Hawk is enjoying a stellar season in the big events, having made the semi-finals of the Cazoo UK Championship, the final of the Cazoo Masters and now another title match this week.

Hawkins’ run to the Masters final included a stunning 6-5 defeat of 2019 World Champion Judd Trump in the semis, before being denied the title by Neil Robertson. He could face a rematch in this week’s showpiece, with the Australian taking on Jimmy Robertson in the other semi-final.

Londoner Hawkins is aiming for a first piece of ranking silverware in five years. He won the last of his three ranking crowns thus far at the 2017 World Grand Prix, where he defeated Ryan Day in the final. The 2013 Crucible finalist will be hoping this weekend sees him up his conversion ratio, having now appeared in 28 ranking event semi-finals.

Walden’s quest for a first title since the 2014 International Championship goes on. However, the Chester cueman leaves Wolverhampton in the knowledge that he is displaying his best form in several years. Walden has also appeared in semi-finals at the Northern Ireland Open and the German Masters this season.

It was Walden who claimed the opener this evening, thanks to a break of 69. He had looked like doubling his advantage when he fired in a contribution of 60 in the second, but Hawkins countered and produced a clearance of 42 to steal on the black. He then added the third and fourth frames to lead 3-1 at the mid-session.

Walden remained in touch after the resumption, a run of 54 saw him over the line in the fifth frame. However, that would be his final frame of the evening. Breaks of 115, 61 and 75 saw Hawkins claim three on the bounce and run out a 6-2 victor.

It’s a bit of a dream come true really. If somebody said at the turn of the year I’d reach two finals, I would never have believed them. To be in another big final is really pleasing,” said 42-year-old Hawkins.

It would mean a hell of a lot to win on Sunday. Even just getting to the final is amazing, but if I can get out there and play like I did towards the end of the match this evening then I’ve got a chance. I’m under no illusions that I’ve got to go out there and produce the goods though.

I lost a few semi-finals last year, including one I maybe let get away from me against Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Tour Championship. They are tough ones to take because these opportunities don’t come around that often. When you get these chances to win you have to step up and take them. It will be tough, but hopefully I can do it on Sunday.

It was another typically solid display from the Hawk. Knowing Ricky, he will be bitterly disappointed because he always is whenever he loses. He may see the positives maybe after a couple of days but on the moment he’s one of the worst losers on the tour, he really gets angry and down on himself.

Neil Robertson 6-1 Jimmy Robertson

Neil Wins Battle Of The Robertsons

Neil Robertson set up a repeat of the Cazoo Masters final with Barry Hawkins, by beating Jimmy Robertson 6-1 to clinch a place in the title match at the Cazoo Players Championship in Wolverhampton.

The pair met at Alexandra Palace last month, having both negotiated epic semi finals. Robertson defeated Mark Williams 6-5, while Hawkins edged past Judd Trump by the same scoreline. However, Robertson surged to victory in the final, winning 10-4 to pick up the Paul Hunter trophy.

The Australian is sure to head into the encounter in confident mood, having won the last five meetings between the pair. He also leads the head-to-head record by an 11-4 margin. Tomorrow’s match will be 21-time ranking event winner Robertson’s 35th appearance in a ranking final.

Hawkins will be hoping for a tighter contest than last month’s Alexandra Palace showdown. They will again meet over the best of 19 frames, over two sessions, for a £125,000 top prize.

Today’s win for Robertson leaves him in a strong position to qualify for the Cazoo Tour Championship, which he won last season. Only the top eight in the one-year list can claim a place in the prestigious event. The Melbourne cueman came into this week in sixth position, but is now provisionally up to fourth in the standings.

Jimmy Robertson leaves Wolverhampton with the consolation of £30,000 after reaching his second semi-final of an extremely impressive campaign. He also made the last four at the British Open and was a quarter-finalist at the Cazoo World Grand Prix.

The Bexhill cueman was just a single frame from tour relegation at the end of last season, beating Zhao Jianbo 6-5 at World Championship qualifying to rescue his professional status.

It was Neil who took the first three frames today, including a run of 86 in the opener, to establish a stranglehold on proceedings. However, Jimmy did give himself hope heading into the mid-session by taking the fourth on a respotted black to reduce his arrears to 3-1.

When play resumed Neil surged to the finish line. He composed breaks of 55 and 53 on his way to a further three consecutive frames which saw out the 6-1 victory.

Robertson said: “Barry is going to be really motivated to win. It is fantastic to see him back in another final. He is a great player and our matches are always played in a good spirit. Even after the Masters final we had a great time at the party afterwards. When you are against someone like Barry you play the match, whoever the best wins and there is no problem with that.

Jimmy is a great guy. It would have been terrible to see him drop off the tour. It was only a few years ago he won the European Masters. He is someone you are used to seeing in the latter stages of tournaments against the top guys.

To get to the final is a massive bonus. It puts me in a much better position to be in the Tour Championship and actually defend my title. I’m in a good place to do that now and that was my goal at the start of the week.

Jimmy Robertson will be disappointed because it’s not as if he was actually outplayed. He did have opportunities, he was first in in several frames, he just didn’t score enough when in. You can’t do that against someone like Neil who is probably the best player in the world at the moment. Of course it’s not easy to do when, like Jimmy, you are not that used to get to the very latter stages of tournaments, on the main table, in front of a big crowd.

4 thoughts on “2022 Players Championship – Semi-finals Round-up

  1. I think the main issue yesterday, and perhaps across the whole week, was the table conditions. This seems to be happening more and more. Probably the temperature control is too difficult in the venue. It’s really something that should be looked at.

  2. Neil was also far from being unbeatable when he played Ronnie, which is just another reason why that QF hurts. But it would be so great if Barry could win it today …

    • Neil was very unhappy with the table conditions. They have been awful. He can say that because he won, so nobody can accuse him of making excuses. Whenever there was a big crowd, and especially in evenings, the table was very slow, the cushions spongy and to make it worse the table was rolling off…

  3. Very strange performance from Neil. I agree with your assessment that he’s probably the best player in the world, certainly the most consistently dangerous over the last 3-5 years.

    But last night was the worst I’ve seen him play for ages! Lots of scrappy stuff and giving chances away unexpectedly, you’d expect a Higgins or Selby to have beaten him comfortably given the awkward nature of each frame. The only time he consistently potted things cleanly was when the frames were won.

    Jimmy can at least blame nerves or inexperience, but Neil was genuinely quite poor (and I know the table wasn’t great either) yet still won 6-1. His name is pretty much written on the trophy for my money! Barry probably the best player all week but Neil usually finds something for the final, and he’s been winning without being anywhere near his best…

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