It was even stevens coming into today’s final session but in a tightly contested encounter, the first round giant killer Barry Hawkins failed to slay the Welsh dragon, as Stevens used his experience to guide himself to a 13-11 victory over the eagle-eyed Barry Hawkins.
With both players vying for a place in the Quarter Finals, they both took to the baize very cautiously in the opening frame, as both struggled to make an impact. Stevens made the most of an opportunity gifted him by Hawkins and then took the opening frame, the first time he’d taken the lead throughout the course of the game. Stevens then produced some fine form to take the second frame of the session with a break of 65, his fourth on the bounce and he gave himself a two frame cushion at 10-8. But as Stevens struggled to extend his lead further, Hawkins shown his fighting spirit, finding his groove at just the right time and taking the final two frames with breaks of 64 and 63 and levelling the game at 10-10.
As the pressure increased following the interval, both players had difficulties amongst the balls, but it was Stevens that gained the upperhand at 11-10 and there was little between the two a scrappy sixth frame, and after a long safety battle, Stevens regained his two frame cushion and extended his lead to 12-10. In the 7th frame, despite a break of 51, it looked likely that Stevens would take the seventh frame and win the encounter 13-10, but after Stevens slipped up, Hawkins battled courageously, taking to the table and clearing up comfortably to put the tie at 11-12 ahead of the 8th frame. However despite the fightback from Hawkins, Stevens’s perfect potting and positioning was the difference between the two as his break of 57 in the final frame made sure of his place in the Quarter Final round against his fellow welsh dragon, Ryan Day.
The game between Ryan Day and Matthew Stevens begins tomorrow morning at 10AM.