BARRY HAWKINS reached his third successive Crucible semi-final after he won a pulsating quarter-final against Neil Robertson which went all the way to the final frame.
In what was one of the most entertaining matches the tournament has seen so far, Hawkins kept alive his hopes of a first world title by beating the Australian 13-12.
A vital final frame clearance of 61 ensured Hawkins a semi-final clash against former world champion Shaun Murphy who earlier beat Anthony McGill to reach the last four stage for the first time at the Crucible in six years.
Hawkins has appeared in the semi-finals in the past two years – beating Ricky Walden in 2013 to reach the final and losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan last year. Now he will get another chance to reach the final after upsetting the odds to defeat the in-form Australian.
The final part of an exciting quarter-final was superb as both Hawkins and Robertson made stunning breaks frame after frame in such a high quality contest with both players performing their best in a bid to progress to the next round.
Trailing 8-7 at the start of the final session, Robertson made the perfect start to the evening as a break of 141 put him back on level terms.
But Hawkins responded in fine style as back to back centuries of 108 and 104 gave him a 10-8 lead. Robertson was unable to make a fourth century break in a row but a break of 90 closed the gap to 10-9 at the mid-session interval.
The standard of high quality snooker refused to stop after the break as Robertson made a break of 65 before another century, this time a 142, put him into the lead at 11-10.
However the response from Hawkins was again top drawer as another century of 109 got him back on level terms before a run of 76 put him back in front at 12-11 – putting him one away from victory.
QUALITY – The breaks in Robertson/Hawkins final session – 141 (NR), 108 (BH), 104 (BH), 90 (NR), 65 (NR), 142 (NR), 109 (BH), 76 (BH), 61 (BH)
But Robertson ensured a cracking match went all the way to a final frame decider with runs of 48 and 40 to level at 12-12.
A very tense final frame was hanging in the balance when the players were locked level at 26-26 but the match was decided when Robertson missed a long red which led to a match-winning break of 61 from Hawkins.
World Championship 2015 Semi-Finals
Shaun MURPHY vs Barry HAWKINS
Judd TRUMP vs Stuart BINGHAM