The Hawk staged an excellent comeback to beat world number one Mark Selby 13-10, winning seven of the final eight frames from 9-6 down. He showed incredible fighting attributes when it mattered most.
|Picture by Monique Limbos|
This is now the second year running Hawkins has ended Selby's hopes and his reward is a place in his first ever Crucible quarter-final.
Hawkins is one of the truly nicest players at the top of the game. You never hear him talking himself up in the press. He just gets on with the job in hand. He's never cared about reputation but he is a great player and, as he keeps showing, capable of beating anyone. This a massive win for him. That was obvious when he cheered to the crowd after match ball and then let his emotions out in his press conference.
This wasn't the prettiest of wins but it was a big win nonetheless. He will get more confident following this memorable victory. He'll keep scoring and has proved he can scrap alongside the very best.
The question now is: How far can he go? The bottom half of this draw is wide open. The top seeds have been falling all week and it really shows that the gap at the top just keeps closing. The tournament is an absolute minefield. It's not easy to name a winner. So, can Hawkins get to the one table format? Why not!
Hawkins is still in the hunt and will probably be underestimated again, but really shouldn't be.
Selby will be very disappointed and may be one of a few players paying the price for such a long, hard season. He was way below par at the crucial time in this match, but that hasn't always mattered. He usually finds a way. It always felt like he would eventually step up and take the match, but it never quite materialised. This means another chance at winning the World Championship has slipped away.
He's still had a decent season with two major BBC event wins but the trophy he so desperately desires continues to elude him.