Aussie delight and title joy for Hawkins

BARRY Hawkins claimed his first world ranking title after a convincing victory over Peter Ebdon in the Australian Open final.

The 33-year-old captured the title and his biggest achievement in the game since turning professional sixteen years ago by beating the former world champion 9-3 in Bendigo.

Hawkins becomes the second ever winner of the Australian Open after Stuart Bingham won the inaugural event last year with victory over Mark Williams.

Ebdon, chasing an elusive tenth world ranking crown, took a tense first frame but Hawkins then took control of the contest winning the next four frames with breaks of 57, 74, 106 and 114.

Traling 4-1, Ebdon managed to stop the rot winning the sixth frame to reduce the deficit but it was Hawkins who remained in control leading 5-3 going into the evening session.

And it was an evening session Hawkins will remember for the rest of his life after he claimed the next four frames to lift the Australian Open trophy and net the winner’s cash prize of £70,000.

A delighted Hawkins said after the match: “Winning my first ranking event feels quite strange. I don’t think it has sunk in yet, I feel quite calm. It’ll probably sink in more when I get home and see the family.

“I’m delighted obviously and it could be a big moment in my career hopefully. I just can’t believe it, I’m speechless.

“The score-line surprised me a little bit because I thought it was going to be a really tough game. Peter’s beaten a lot of good players this week and he’s so tough to play. He plays a lot of unusual shots but really good shots. I managed to have a spell of about four frames where he didn’t pot a ball, I knocked in quite a few big breaks.

“Obviously it’s going to give me a bit more confidence, well a lot of confidence to be honest and hopefully I can win another tournament. But it’s so tough, just to win one is an achievement. To be the last one standing is unbelievable.”

A disappointed Ebdon, who beat Michael Holt, Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy and Mark Davis to reach the grand final, said he had a game to forget and Hawkins deserved to win the title.

“I didn’t have a very good day at all, nothing really went for me and I really struggled out there in all departments and it’s very disappointing.

“It’s not often that would happen to me in a final but every credit to Barry, I thought he played really, really well. His all-round game was very good, he scored very heavily, his long-game was good, touch, feel, cue ball control, it was all there today.

“I’m delighted for him, that he’s won his first ranking event. I would have rather that it hadn’t been against me in the final. But he’s been a winner waiting to happen for quite some time.”

Both players have little time to rest on their laurels with the first UK PTC event of the season taking place this Thursday (July 19).

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