Barry Hawkins comes up against Mark Williams in the Shanghai Masters on Thursday in their first meeting since the semi-finals of the World Championship. Williams managed to overcome ‘The Hawk’ in Sheffield before taking the top prize with a thrilling win over John Higgins.
This match in China offers Hawkins a chance for revenge but he’ll have to be on top form if he is to claim a victory. Hawkins has been impressive in China so far, having dispatched Simon Lichtenberg without dropping a frame in the China Championship last month. The world number seven downed Stephen Maguire 6-3 to set up his quarter-final showdown with Williams but he’ll have to up his game further if he is to secure a last-four spot.
World number two Williams landed the World Open title last month and looked strong in his Shanghai opener after a 6-3 win over Anthony McGill. The Welshman also seems to have Hawkins figured out, having won 12 of their previous 14 meetings.
Hawkins has won two of their last three clashes but both of those victories were best-of-five frames in the Champions League, and over this best-of-11 match-up in Shanghai Williams should have the edge.
The three-time world champion has also won both of the previous meetings between the two in China and will be confident over his chances of securing a place in the semi-finals. Williams is the 1.57 favourite to claim the win on Thursday and Hawkins can be backed at 2.30.