Published: 08:22, 17 January 2018
Ditton's Barry Hawkins insists he played better than opponent Kyren Wilson - despite crashing out in the first round of the Dafabet Masters.
The former World Championship finalist scored two centuries and an 85 but bad luck in the final two frames sent him crashing out 6-4.
Hawkins almost pulled out of the match due to illness so was left buoyed by his display, even though he looked on in frustration as Wilson fluked a frame-deciding red and landed a fortunate snooker on his way to win.
“I think I played better than him, I know that sounds mad but I was 2-1 up and on a break of 33 when I decelerated on a red and missed," the left-hander said.
"If I went on and got 3-1 up then you never know.
“I don’t think it was a bad game, there were a couple of scrappy frames at the end and he had some luck on his side.
“I thought I played well considering I was in bed the day before. Last night I was in bits, I was shivering and shaking so I was pleased with the way I did in the end."
Hawkins began the match in style by firing in a superb 131 but Wilson, making just his second appearance at Alexandra Palace, responded with a break of 56 in the second.
Hawkins was clearly in good touch as he made 120 to win the third but in a high-quality match Wilson took the initiative and won three of the next four frames with two centuries of his own.
Now 38, Hawkins is a seasoned campaigner and knows how to handle pressure and he pulled level at 4-4 with an expert 85.
But luck favoured Wilson, with a fluked red in the ninth allowing him to move a frame clear again before he won the match in the next when he accidentally put Hawkins in a snooker he could not escape from.
“It was gutting, Kyren likes to go for his long balls and that one in the ninth turned the game. If I got 5-4 up, I might win the match but he had the run of balls before the end,” Hawkins added.
“I left him a free ball in the last one so it was a horrible way to lose. He was just hitting and hoping and it was unbelievable really.
“My season’s been bad but I think my form is coming back slowly, so I was gutted when I felt ill but I thought I dug in and did well.”
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