Barry Hawkins scored his first ever win at the Dafabet Masters – at the sixth attempt – beating Joe Perry 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals.
Hawkins has won two ranking events and has a fine record at the World Championship in recent years but surprisingly lost his opening match in his first five Masters appearances. But the world number eight has now finally broken that duck and can look forward to a meeting with Mark Allen on Thursday evening.
Londoner Hawkins has struggled on the table since winning the Riga Open in August, but looked to be back in form in an impressive win over tenth seed Perry.
A break of 59 helped Hawkins win the opening frame and he added the second with a 31 clearance which was highlighted by a brilliant pot on the final pink along a side cushion.
Perry stormed back to win three consecutive frames with top breaks of 67 and 84, but Hawkins was able to regroup and take three in a row himself with top runs of 81 and 58 to lead 5-3. In frame nine he missed an easy red on 38 with the winning line close, but Perry’s counter ended when he missed the pink with the rest at 39-42 with two reds remaining. Hawkins was able to add the points he needed for victory.
“I’m delighted to finally win a match here,” said 36-year-old Hawkins. “You always get a tough match at the Masters – Ding Junhui hasn’t won a match for five years so that shows how hard it is. Hopefully having got a win under my belt it’s the start of things to come.
“I felt I was solid throughout the match tonight. I’m very happy with the way I felt out there and my confidence is coming back. My game is heading in the right direction.”
Perry said: “I enjoyed the match but from 3-2 up he froze me out. I didn’t get my composure back after that and it fizzled out for me.”