By Chris Bailey, Sportsbeat
DOMINIC Dale breezed into his first World Snooker Championship quarter-final for 14 years – now the Stroud-based potter insists a huge upset is possible against last year’s finalist Barry Hawkins.
Dale, 42, needed just one more frame to dispatch potential dark horse Michael Wasley 13-4 on Monday afternoon, who clinched a dramatic victory over world No.2 Ding Junhui in the first round.
There is no doubt about Hawkins’ class however, the runner-up to five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 12 months ago and a trophy winner just last month at the PTC Grand Finals.
But Dale, who beat the seeded Mark Davis in the first round, believes the form he has shown so far at the Crucible will be enough to trouble Hawkins on Tuesday.
“It feels great, the World Championship is the blue riband event of any sport so here is where you want to do well,” he said.
“But I’ve got a very tough one now, Barry’s world No.4 and does everything well.
“OK, some might say I’ve had a good path through, but I’ve won the matches easily which is nice. His safety game’s good, his potting, his scoring.
“We play similar games and on the day it’s going to be about who does it better, who deals with difficult situations better and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I hope it will be a close match and may the best man win. Barry might think he doesn’t want to play the same way as he did against Ricky (Walden) in the second round.
“I’ve had the odd session where I’ve struggled for a few games but my A game has never been that far away.
“I don’t see any reason why I can’t beat Barry Hawkins but he’ll be thinking there’s no reason he can’t beat me, he’s proven himself a better player than me over recent times.”
Dale stormed into a 7-1 lead against Wasley but admits his focus slipped on Sunday, with the chance to wrap up the match in two sessions beckoning.
“It disintegrates your focus a little bit, if you’re involved in a match in a fairly close tussle every frame’s important,” he added.
“But when you’ve got a lead of 7-1 from your point of view you’ve done the hard work – you’ve just got to maintain it if you can.
“Sometimes there’s no way go focus-wise, I lost my focus (on Sunday) and Mike probably lost his because he was so far in deficit.
“Even though you’re calm and not feeling the pressure of the scoreboard, you still feel the pressure of the crowd because they still expect you to perform and you are on a big stage.”
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