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Masters 2023: Barry Hawkins clean sweeps UK champion Mark Allen to reach quarter-finals

Barry Hawkins
Barry Hawkins has reached the final of the Masters on two previous occasions
Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 8 January -15 January
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app

Barry Hawkins swept UK champion Mark Allen 6-0 to reach the last eight of the Masters at Alexandra Palace.

The Englishman combined astute tactical play with some superb potting as he dominated throughout, making breaks of 76 and 114 on his way to victory.

Allen, one of the form players this season, exits the tournament at the first-round stage for the fifth consecutive year.

Hawkins will now face either Judd Trump or Ryan Day next on Friday.

The 43-year-old who lost to Neil Robertson in last year’s final had come into the contest as a slight underdog, with Allen, who defended his Northern Ireland Open title earlier in the season, bidding to secure back-to-back Triple Crown titles.

“It was probably one of the best safety performances I have ever played against as a professional,” said Allen.

“I couldn’t even play a good return most of the time. There was a spell in that match when I hardly saw a ball. Barry was flawless. It was a phenomenal performance.”

Northern Irishman becomes the fourth consecutive UK champion to be knocked out of the Masters at the first hurdle, with Hawkins once again reserving his best for the big occasion.

“I didn’t give him a sniff and when I had to put him in trouble I did. The result flatters me a little bit,” Hawkins told BBC Sport.

“I think my safety won me the match. If I was ultra critical I probably could have scored a bit better but I kept Mark under pressure. There were very few unforced errors and I think that made the difference in the end.

“I seem to thrive off the crowd and pressure. A lot of times I have played my best stuff under the utmost pressure.”

Hawkins overturned a 55-point deficit to win the first frame and got the better in a lengthy safety exchange before constructing a superb half century to win the second from an improbable position, with the balls bunched awkwardly on the table.

A fortunate in-off, followed by an immediate tactical error and foul from Allen, saw Hawkins establish a 3-0 lead with a wonderful century and when Allen missed a brown to the top right corner it enabled Hawkins to pinch a nervy fourth frame.

With Allen’s long potting success rate below 40%, two solid scoring contributions saw Hawkins take the fifth frame and then come from behind in the sixth to round off his win with a 34.

Analysis – ‘Hawkins has the game to be prolific winner’

Former world champion Ken Doherty on BBC Two

It was a fantastic performance from Hawkins. He completely dominated. There is no doubt he has the game to be a prolific winner.

He is a silent assassin. He goes about his business methodically and effectively but his cue-ball control is exemplary.

He is wonderful matchplayer. If he can’t score he will tie you to that cushion and put himself in a really strong position. It is not in his nature to be flashy but every department of his game is quality.

He may not be the best in any one department but he is in the top 10% across them all and that can be good enough.

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