Barry Hawkins topped his first round group in the Championship League snooker tournament - and now faces the world champion.
Ditton potter Hawkins admitted he hadn’t had much preparation time before the tournament began but will now face world no.1 Judd Trump on Wednesday, along with David Gilbert and Welshman Ryan Day.
The event is taking in place at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, behind closed doors. Everyone who played was tested for Covid-19 and all results came back negative.
Action started last Monday but Hawkins had to wait until Sunday to begin his campaign, which at least allowed him extra time to prepare.
The 41-year-old from Ditton - ranked 15 in the world - won group seven after beating Hammad Miah 3-0, Craig Steadman 3-0 and drawing 2-2 with Anthony McGill.
Prior to the tournament Hawkins had been spending his days doing DIY and only recently got back on the table.
He said: “I didn’t know what to expect after the break we have had.
“I started off okay, had a couple of good matches and decent breaks. It was a bit scrappy with me and Anthony but it was to be expected.
“I have only been playing for just over a week, I am not one of those players lucky enough to have a table at home, but I managed to get a bit of practice in the mornings at my club.”
His final game against McGill was crucial, with both players standing a chance to progress. McGill needed a win but Hawkins got the two frames he needed to qualify.
His top break on Sunday was 96. Qualifying earned him £4,000 as group stage winner. He will pocket at least another £1,500 for the next stage - £6,000 if he can top the group.
He said: “Two and a half months is a long time off, we’re not used to that, so it was nice to get back into some sort of routine again.
“It’s all good practice and a chance to earn some money. I didn’t know anything about it until a couple of weeks ago. It’s a bonus tourn ament for us all and maybe a test run for what is to come.”
Winners of the qualifying groups progress to another four groups of four. Hawkins and the rest of those contesting Group B will get underway on Wednesday, from 3pm.