Hawkins into Players semi-finals

Barry Hawkins

Barry Hawkins was beaten 10-1 by world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final of the 2016 Masters in January

England’s Barry Hawkins beat Ding Junhui 4-2 to become the first player to claim a place in the semi-finals of the Players Championship in Manchester.

The world number eight looked to be in control when he took a 3-0 lead over his 29-year-old Chinese opponent.

But after winning the fourth frame, Ding’s break of 127 moved him to within one of the 2016 Masters runner-up.

However Hawkins, 36, held his nerve and claimed his place in the last four with a break of 79.

Hawkins will face the winner of Ali Carter and Ricky Walden for a place in the final.

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