Coming in this afternoon the question was how would Hawkins settle on what was no doubt the biggest day of his career.and early on,the signs were not good as a series of poor shots gifted Ronnie the opening which he took to lead 2-0.Hawkins to his credit though suddenly found his form and leveled at 2-2 at mid session interval.
The whole tournament people have asked how would Ronnie respond if he fell behind and we finally got the answer to that this afternoon as Hawkins took the next to lead 3-2 and Ronnie responded winning the next three with the aid of two centuries to lead 5-3 at the end of the afternoon.
Into the night then and real signs that Ronnie was feeling it a bit more then we expected and Hawkins perhaps sensing this started to play his best snooker. The first four frames were shared to go to the interval at 7-5 to Ronnie ,but Hawkins kept his momentum going and made it 7-6 before then getting 133 to level again at 7-7.
Tho only time we have seen Ronnie under this much pressure before in this tournament was when Ali Carter drew level with him at 7-7 in their second round match,On that occasion Ronnie dug in to win the next two and he did exactly the same here,knocking in back to back centuries once again to lead 9-7.
The final frame of the session now took on added importance and it seemed both players knew it as the tension mounted. A series of masterful safety shots from Ronnie seemed to give him the upper hand until Hawkins fluked the green.Every shot now was vitally important and when Ronnie played a loose shot on the blue Hawkins potted it and the pink,but failed to get on the black.He then played a poor safety and Ronnie held his nerve to pot the black and go 10-7 ahead overnight.
So not the procession people were expecting and Hawkins can be very happy with his days work despite trailing going into tomorrow. He will feel if he gets off to a good start in the afternoon he still has every chance here.Ronnie can also be content that,despite having made four centuries,he holds a lead without been at his best. What it does mean is we are set fair for a great days action tomorrow to round off this championship.