Barry Hawkins whitewashes Mark Allen in first round of the Masters

Barry Hawkins whitewashed Mark Allen 6-0 in the first round of the Masters as the former champion’s miserable recent form in the event continued at Alexandra Palace.

Allen lifted the title in 2018 but has not won a single match since and managed a high break of just 45 against fellow left-hander Hawkins, who was runner-up to Neil Robertson 12 months ago.

Hawkins, who will face either Judd Trump or Ryan Day in the quarter-finals, told the BBC: “I think the result flatters me a little bit. I think my safety won me the match really. I played a lot of good safety and created chances that way.

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“I think if I was ultra-critical, I could have scored a little better but I kept Mark under pressure and I didn’t do that much wrong – very few easy unforced errors – and I think that’s made the difference in the end.”

Hawkins recovered from a 55-0 deficit in the opening frame to win it on the colours, with breaks of 76 and 114 then extending his advantage.

Allen looked set to get on the scoreboard in a scrappy fourth frame only to overcut the brown and leave it over the corner pocket, Hawkins clearing up to move further ahead before making it 5-0 with breaks of 45 and 41.

Having recovered from 6-1 down to beat Ding Junhui 10-7 in the final of the UK Championship in November, there was still a glimmer of hope for Allen, but the Northern Irishman was unable to reproduce such heroics and Hawkins sealed a commanding victory.

“For once I didn’t have that much time off (over Christmas), I had a couple of days off here and there but kept going up the club because I knew this tournament was coming up and this is not a place you want to come here and be underprepared,” Hawkins added.

“I thought I’d keep my head down and today it’s paid off.”

Barry Hawkins
Barry Hawkins (right) whitewashed Mark Allen on day three of the Cazoo Masters at Alexandra Palace (Adam Davy/PA)

A disappointed Allen was quick to pay tribute to Hawkins, telling Eurosport: “I probably should have won the first frame and had a couple of chances in frame four, other than that, I thought he was phenomenal.

“Some of his safety play was ridiculously good. There were a number of times I came to the table consecutively scratching my head, I had no shot at all.

“I said to him at the end, it’s probably one of the best safety performances I’ve ever played against as a pro. Granted I missed a few balls as well, but you just have to credit Barry, he just froze me out. It was a phenomenal performance.”