Barry Hawkins admits he feared being on the receiving end of another Judd Trump recovery after completing a nervy 10-7 win over the world number one in the Tour Championship quarter-finals.
Hawkins looked on a cusp of a shock 10-6 win at Celtic Manor in Wales only to break down on 45 by missing an easy red as Trump produced a quickfire run of 94 to close to 9-7 behind.
A tense 17th frame could have fallen either way after running over 40 minutes, but Hawkins kept his composure superbly well to hole the final brown from distance to set up a Saturday semi-final with world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, who defeated him 6-4 in the last four of the Players Championship last month.
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Hawkins was relieved to avoid another Trump comeback after the 2019 world champion and 22-times ranking event winner usurped him 6-5 from 5-1 behind in the German Masters semi-finals in January.
"I was delighted to see the brown go in to say the least," said the 2013 world finalist, who made breaks of 70, 90, 63, 121 and 61. "I thought the red flew (in the 16th frame). I got down, hit it and it caught the other red on the way through.
"I was a bit puzzled and I just thought: 'oh, here we go again'. I was trying to stay calm and to get a win over Judd, the world number one, he's been playing unbelievable stuff. It's a big win for me.
"I didn't throw the match away against Judd (at the German Masters), but I nearly did the same thing tonight. If it goes 9-8 then I'm starting to feel it again," added Hawkins, who enjoyed his first major victory over Trump since a 6-4 win in the 2016 Masters semi-finals.
Sometimes you can’t help but get negative thoughts now and again. Everyone can play well, it is how you deal with things going wrong.
"Behind closed doors in the cubicles everyone plays so well. When you get on the TV table it is a different sort of game and a different sort of pressure. It is how you deal with that.
I felt pretty calm towards the end. It has put me in good stead playing Ronnie and Judd. You can only learn from those guys even though at 42, you should have learnt everything by now.
"I'm just delighted to get such a big win. I'll think about Ronnie tomorrow, I don't think I've beaten him in about 20 years."
Trump will turn his preparations to his bid for a second world title in three years next month, but felt he was unfortunate to lose after contributing runs of 119, 98, 64, 86 and 94 in a match that he never once led having closed from 7-3 behind to trail 7-6.
"From the get go, he missed quite a lot of long balls and got away with them. That's just how it goes sometimes," said Trump.
"On another day, with the amount of balls he missed, if he left me half the chances, it could easily have been the other way around.
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I'm not too disappointed. The game goes like that sometimes. I've played a lot worse this season and won tournaments.
"If I could have got back to 7-7 or 9-8, I felt the pressure was on him. I missed a couple of balls at the end because I was a little bit tired."
TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
- Monday, March 22
- John Higgins 8-10 Ronnie O'Sullivan
- Tuesday, March 23
- Neil Robertson 10-5 Jack Lisowski
- Wednesday, March 24
- Mark Selby 10-3 Kyren Wilson
- Thursday, March 25
- Judd Trump 7-10 Barry Hawkins
- Friday, March 26
- Neil Robertson v Mark Selby (1pm and 7pm)
- Saturday, March 27
- Barry Hawkins v Ronnie O'Sullivan (1pm and 7pm)
- Sunday, March 28
- Final (1pm and 7pm)
HOW TO FOLLOW THE EVENT
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