Neil Robertson won the 2022 Players Championship title with a 10-5 victory against Barry Hawkins in Wolverhampton on Sunday.
The Australian produced a tidy display to triumph in another final, just four weeks after capturing the Masters at the Hawk’s expense in London.
Just like in that title decider at the Alexandra Palace, underdog Hawkins won the opening frame of the contest.
But after Robertson subsequently levelled, the recently turned 40 year-old pinched the third frame to orchestrate a lead he would never relinquish.
Three terrific tons on the trot followed, but to his credit Hawkins fought gallantly to take the remaining couple of frames from the opening session to trail by just two.
Upon the evening’s resumption of play the scoreline quickly became 7-3, however, as Robertson appeared to be coasting to yet more silverware.
Hawkins again rallied to win two frames before the last mid-session interval, but even though he was hanging on there was always a sense of inevitability that Robertson would eventually prevail.
The Thunder from Down Under duly added a fourth century break to move 8-5 in front, and he comfortably rounded things off with runs of 51 and 69.
Robertson’s Players Championship glory marks his second of 2022 already, and a third piece of silverware from this campaign overall.
Indeed, the world number four has reached the final in half of the eight events he’s participated in this term and is undoubtedly the most in-form player in the world at present.
One of the most consistent winners on the tour, Robertson’s career tally of ranking event titles moves to 22 – level with Judd Trump in joint-sixth on the all-time list.
The £125,000 top prize takes him to second behind Zhao Xintong on the one-year rankings list and guarantees his involvement in next month’s Tour Championship – a tournament he’ll be defending.
It would be difficult to bet against him capturing more titles before the season’s done, and much of his focus will surely turn to his latest crack at landing an overdue second Crucible crown.
For Hawkins, it was another disappointing climax to what was a strong week overall, especially having just squeaked into the event as the 16th and last qualifier.
The 42 year-old played much better than the tame display he produced in the Masters final, but he couldn’t live with Robertson’s relentless standard again.
Featured photo credit: WST