Graeme Dott went down 13-6 to Barry Hawkins in the last 16 of the World Snooker Championship and he feels he was dumped out by a genuine title contender.
Dott, who won the title himself in 2006, says he failed to hit top form against world number seven Hawkins at the Crucible and had no complaints following the loss.
Hawkins, who lost the 2013 final to Ronnie O’Sullivan, reached the last four in 2014 and 2015, and Dott feels this could be The Hawk’s year.
“I told him when I shook his hand at the end: ‘There’s no reason why you can’t win it’,” Dott told the BBC.
“I’ve obviously had a terrible season but I’ve started to play better.” “He is ideal for the Crucible,” added Dott on Hawkins’ title hopes.
“He’s got an all-round perfect game. “His safety is fantastic and his long potting, especially from the cushion, is ridiculous.
He just doesn’t miss any long red from the cushion.” Hawkins will play world number 24 Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals in Sheffield and cannot face either O’Sullivan or world number one Mark Selby until the final.
Hawkins is 7.00 to win the World Snooker Championship outright, O’Sullivan is 3.50 and Selby is 4.00.