World Snooker Championship: Barry Hawkins relishes Ronnie O'Sullivan win

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Barry Hawkins
Barry Hawkins had only beaten Ronnie O'Sullivan once in 11 previous meetings
2016 World Snooker Championship
Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April - 2 May
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport app, Connected TVs and online.

Barry Hawkins said the key to beating Ronnie O'Sullivan for just the second time in his career was trying to forget who he was playing.

The world number 11 won a gripping World Championship second-round tie in a deciding frame to reach the last eight for the fourth successive year.

Hawkins was trounced 10-1 by O'Sullivan in the Masters final in January.

"I prepared myself better. In the Masters I let the occasion get to me," said the 36-year-old.

"I played him more than I played the balls. I just crumbled in the end.

"I had a different mindset. I felt a little bit more confident for some reason. I thought I put him under a bit of pressure. If he gets in front of you he can steamroll you. I am absolutely delighted."

The London-born, Kent-based left hander, who faces Marco Fu in the quarter-finals, had not beaten five-time world champion O'Sullivan in 14 years.

His only previous win in 11 meetings came in their first match in 2002 and Hawkins said he could get "bashed up" by O'Sullivan if he did not play his best snooker.

The 2013 runner-up allayed those fears by taking a two-frame advantage into the final session in a high-quality encounter.

He edged over the line in the final frame and described his 13-12 victory as "one of the best" of his career.

"It's so tough playing Ronnie; he is so intimidating," Hawkins added. "Not many people can beat him over three sessions at this place. It doesn't happen that often.

"To do it when I thought he was playing well is a massive confidence boost and it proves I can compete against anyone."

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