Players Championship final
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Players Championship Final: Neil Robertson vs Barry Hawkins

Neil Robertson and Barry Hawkins clash again with silverware on the line as they face each other in the Players Championship final on Sunday.

The showdown comes just four weeks after they battled in the Masters title decider, from which Robertson emerged with a sixth career Triple Crown title at the Alexandra Palace.

On that day, Hawkins failed to produce anywhere near his best and will have unhappy memories of how easy he made things for his esteemed opponent.

The Hawk entered this 16-player tournament as the bottom seed, having just qualified via the one-year rankings list by the narrowest of margins.

But victories over Zhao Xintong, Yan Bingtao, and Ricky Walden have seen him move one step away from a fourth ranking title, and a first since 2017.

Robertson, meanwhile, arguably represents the best player in the world at present and is bidding for a third trophy of this campaign alone.

For various reasons ranging from marriage to illness, the recently turned 40 year-old hasn’t competed in every tournament this term.

However, he now boasts an outstanding record of having reached four finals from the eight events he’s participated in.

Robertson bemoaned the conditions in his defeat of Jimmy Robertson on Saturday but ultimately won comfortably with a 6-1 scoreline.

In the earlier rounds in Wolverhampton, the Thunder from Down Under ousted rivals Kyren Wilson and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Undoubtedly starting the Players Championship final as the favourite, Robertson possesses a superior head-to-head record against Hawkins in general.

Indeed, aside from one win in the short-format Championship League, Hawkins hasn’t prevailed from this encounter since 2018.

The 42 year-old will have to find some way of preventing the most in-form competitor in the world at the moment from strutting his stuff around the table.

Robertson will be competing in a 35th ranking event final and is hoping to collect a 22nd title at this level, with a £125,000 champion’s cheque on offer as well.

The Melbourne man acknowledges that he can’t maintain this standard forever, so he is desperate to cash in when the timing is right.

It’s difficult to see him letting this latest opportunity slip by.

Live coverage of the Players Championship final is on ITV4 across Ireland and the UK, with other options around the world available.

Featured photo credit: WST

One Comment

  1. Jamie Brannon

    If Hawkins replicates his level against Yan then it might not be a Robertson victory. However the Aussie is playing extremely well this season and Hawkins seems to fare better against Trump and Selby out of the game’s very top players. I’m tipping Robertson 10-6.

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