After two nail-biting semi-finals that went the 11-frame distance, we’re back on Sunday to do it all over again in the Masters final.
Neil Robertson’s Houdini act stole the headlines on Saturday as the Australian found two snookers to squeeze past Mark Williams in the deciding frame, but don’t forget about the “Hawk”.
Hawkins racked up a ballsy break of 58 in the eleventh frame to topple the tournament favourite Judd Trump who was playing a touch under par.
It’s Hawkins’ second final after being trounced 10-1 by Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2016 and Robertson’s fourth – the Australian won the title in 2012 but lost subsequent finals in 2013 and 2015.
Let’s take a look at where the value is on Sunday.January 15, 2022
Neil Robertson v Barry Hawkins
Both Robertson and Hawkins had to show nerves of steal in their semi-final wins, so trying to split the “heart” or “guts” of these two extremely experienced potters seems a thankless task.
But what we can say is that Robertson seems to be playing the more fluid snooker this week inside the Alexandra Palace, despite Hawkins coming through a nightmare draw featuring Selby and Trump hurdles.
The Australian has racked up four centuries so far this week and looks capable of taking opportunities when they are forged.
Robertson also has reason to smile when you compare their recent head-to-head.
“The Thunder from Down Under” has taken six of their last eight meetings, with one of those two losses coming in a shorter form race to three at the Championship League.
Their previous meeting at the Masters ended in victory for Robertson in 2019’s quarter-final courtesy of a 6-3 win.
In this race to 10, we’re happy giving the Aussie a -2.5 frame handicap as he canters late towards a second Masters crown.