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article imageSnooker: Barry Hawkins wins Grand Prix Special

By Tim Sandle     Feb 13, 2017 in Sports
Preston - English snooker player Barry Hawkins continued his good run of form by lifting the World Grand Prix snooker title. Hawkins defeated Welsh player Ryan Day by 10 frames to 7 in the final.
Barry Hawkins and Ryan Day battled past some of snooker’s big names and current and former world champions to reach the final of the latest ranking event (the World Grand Prix). In his semi-final win over Liang Wenbo, which he won 6-1, Hawkins was very impressive and made two century breaks. Day had a harder match against Marco Fu, which he won 6-4. Key to Day’s win was clinching the eighth frame 78 points to 76, after needing four snookers.
The final was a game of two parts: Hawkins, ranked number 12 in the world rankings, made the early running, compiling a series of big breaks, before Day began a come-back. As bravely as Day battled, Hawkins’ early lead proved to be too big, and the man nicknamed ‘The Hawk’ was able to clinch what was only his third major title. Day has yet to win a major championship.
Although Day won the opening frame, largely due to a solid break of 55, it was Hawkins who dominated the opening session. Starting with a 53 break to clinch the second frame comfortably, Hawkins then made four century breaks in six-frames. This run of form was equal to many of snooker’s great players. This burst of potting began with consecutive breaks of 114 and 102, as Hawkins moved 3-1 ahead. Ryan Day won two of the next three frames; these, however, were interspersed by Hawkins compiling breaks of 129 and 141. He followed this up with a break of 97, which ended with a missed pot when five centuries beckoned. Hawkins ended the first session 6-3 ahead.
As a sign to how well Hawkins was cueing, he made his fifth century break in the opening frame of the second session, with a 128 break. Often the opening frame of a session can be a little scrappy, as players attempt to find their form. It was not so in the case of Hawkins and his ability to knock in big breaks continued with an 85 as he moved 8-3 ahead, potting freely and making the game look very easy. During this spell Hawkins had scored 315 unanswered points. A more safety-focused frame followed as Hawkins stood one frame away from victory.
From here, Day began to fight back and Hawkins displayed the types of nerves associated with a player who needs just one more game for a win. Day made four big breaks to come through 3-9 in arrears to 7-9 behind: 87, 84, 93 and 75. Day’s impressive run started off in the thirteenth frame when Hawkins missed two easy red balls.
The match, referred by Maike Kesseler, moved into a nervous decider. The big breaks stopped and the play became more fragmented. After impressive safety, coupled with some glaring misses, Hawkins, aged 37, clinched victory by potting the final black to clinch the match.
The frame scores were (Hawkins first):
Session 1:
44-80 (55), 87-1 (53), 121-7 (114), 132-9 (102), 39-68, 129-0 (129), 1-69 (54), 145-0 (141), 97-6 (97)
Session 2:
128-0 (128), 89-0 (85), 65-4, 14-108 (87), 0-84 (84), 0-98 (93), 1-75 (75), 67-56
On lifting the trophy Hawkins also scooped the £100,000 ($130,000) first prize.
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