Masterful Trump comeback sees off Hawkins
Judd Trump changed shoes to leave Barry Hawkins down at the heel as he won the final three frames to compete a frantic 6-5 win in the Masters first round.
Pre-tournament favourite Trump strode out at Alexandra Palace sporting a pair of garish Christian Louboutin designer shoes, apparently worth over £1500, that had spikes sticking out of them more suitable to a James Bond villain than a snooker player.
He changed into an old pair after levelling the match at 1-1 as his new shoes proved 'too slippery', but Hawkins was more interested in giving Trump the slip at the table.
Breaks of 83, 109, 85 and 61 carried the Kent player into a 5-3 lead, but Trump produced some composed snooker to level as Hawkins missed glaring chances to complete the win in the 10th frame.
With the tension palpable, Trump snared the deciding frame with a run of 107 after Hawkins had made a mess of breaking off.
He will meet 2006 world champion Graeme Dott in the last eight on Friday.
"I thought it was time for a new pair of shoes," said Trump. "I went out in the first two frames, but was sliding around so I had to change them after the first couple of frames.
"Hopefully, I will wear them in my next game, but I was sliding around in them out there so may have to make a few adjustments to them.
"They may have to take the table and carpet out and start again so I can wear my shoes the next time," continued a smiling Trump.
"They are Christian Louboutin shoes. He has only just started doing designer shoes for men. It was mainly a women's designer before so this is just a little bit different. I like to stand out now and again."
Trump was relieved to avoid tumbling out of another major tournament in the first round having lost 6-5 to the unheralded world number 50 Mark Joyce at the UK Championship last month.
"I didn't want to go out in the first round, but it is pleasing to go through from 5-3 down," said Trump. "It would have been easy for me to let my head go down at 5-3. It was hard to stay focused, but I kept my head together.
"This is a perfect venue. There is a little bit of calling out, no matter which way it goes. It is good and gets you pumped up."
Trump managed to get himself 34-0 clear in the opening frame only to break down as a positional shot went wrong. After making several errors, it was Hawkins who recovered strongly to move 1-0 ahead.
The world number two opened with a 57 in the second frame, but almost presented Hawkins with the chance to move two frames clear.
Leading by 23 points with 22 left up, Trump somehow managed to hole the white playing safe off the brown.
Hawkins slotted brown, blue and pink, but a poor safety shot on the black saw Trump cut in a glorious black to a middle bag to level at 1-1.
Trump changed his shoes after the second frame but Hawkins did not notice as a fine 83 helped him move 2-1 clear after his opponent had slipped up, so to speak, early in the frame. Trump responded with a lovely 99 to leave matters finely poised at the mid-session interval.
Hawkins was first among the balls in the fifth frame, but failure to split the reds on 37 forced him to play safe.
Trump stepped in with run of 73 to move 3-2 clear only for Hawkins to respond with a 109 to restore parity at 3-3.
The Bristolian had the first chance in the seventh frame, but a flawed positional shot on 41 simply provided Hawkins with fresh impetus as an impeccable knock of 85 carried the Kent player 4-3 clear.
Trump was forced to sit and suffer some more in the eighth frame as a 61 carried Hawkins to the cusp of the last eight. But his response was to emerge from his chair and record a magnificent effort of 105 despite Hawkins doing little wrong in the ninth frame.
Hawkins should have completed a 6-4 win, but crucial misses on a black to a middle pocket and a stun shot on the final blue with the tension mounting enabled world number two Trump to return to the table to slot blue and pink in forcing the deciding 11th frame that he would win.
"I twitched the blue to be honest," confessed Hawkins. "I was stretching a bit, but should have got my little extension out. I should still have potted it. It has cost me in the end. I think I've thrown that one way, but never mind.
"I never got a chance in the final frame, but I'm devastated as I've just handed it to him. I played well, but I can't take any positives at the moment. My head is spinning and I'm a bit gutted.
"I've let him off the hook. He played well in the end, but if you don't take your chances you get punished and that is what happened to me."