Published: 00:00, 16 January 2014
| Updated: 13:55, 16 January 2014
Sleepless nights are in store for Ditton’s Barry Hawkins after he admitted the manner of his 6-5 first-round defeat to Ricky Walden at the Masters could haunt him for the foreseeable future.
Hawkins, ranked at a career-high No.6 in the world, was cruising at the mid-session interval at Alexandra Palace after winning the first three frames of Wednesday night’s match.
However, the rot soon set in on his return to the table, losing the last four frames in a row – including the 10th which lasted 53 minutes as the tension heightened.
But it was the decider in which Hawkins believes he truly blew his chance, playing himself into a poor position after potting a green.
He said: “I’ve done well to lose that game, to be honest. I thought I was playing well at the start and then it got a little bit scrappy.
“Ricky played well to come back but I don’t think I had a clear-cut chance to come back.
“I think I missed a pink in one of the frames and that was a good chance then. But then I played the worst shot that I’d ever played in my snooker career on the green there. I’ll have sleepless nights after that shot I played in the last frame.
“The ball just landed absolutely perfectly and I rushed the green – I didn’t think I could mess it up however badly I played it but I did. It was unforgivable. I wanted shooting after that.
“I just felt like my timing went a bit towards the end. I was flowing at the start and everything was coming easy but then all of a sudden it became hard work.”
The match was a chance for Walden to avenge his last defeat to Hawkins at a major tournament, the world No.11 losing in the semi-finals of the World Championship last
Tense potting from both players affected that occasion and the first two frames at Ally Pally followed a similar script but Hawkins eventually won both after compiling breaks of 85 and 57.
And Walden barely left his seat in the third frame as a supreme Hawkins seized control but he battled back in the fourth to reduce the arrears heading into the mid-session interval.
But from then on Walden chipped away and Hawkins believes his opponent was more adept in grafting out the frames when the going got tough.
He added: “They became hard frames, scrappy frames and he played them pretty well to be fair. I want to forget about that one as soon as possible now.
“It’s hard to take after being 5-2 up and playing pretty well. To lose it like that hurts.”
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