Kyren Wilson reflected on blowing a golden chance to win silverware at the Coral Northern Ireland Open.
The Kettering snooker star had already beaten Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams on his way to the final four before he dramatically bowed out at the semi-final stage.
A disastrous start saw him unable to recover from a 5-0 deficit before he lost 6-2 to world number 35 Mark King at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre.
“It’s a massive opportunity missed and I’m devastated to have played so poorly," he said.
“I have to seize these moments, the tour is so hard nowadays and I felt it was mine for the taking.
“It’s the contrast which is frustrating as much as anything. I’ve played and beaten two legends of the game, and it’s no disrespect to Mark King but I didn’t have that same buzz in this game.
“But that’s my problem, something I need to look at and work out how to control.”
Despite his quarter-final victory going into the early hours of Saturday morning, it was King who began on the front foot, taking a scrappy first frame before finding top form to go 3-0 up with a break of 55.
But Wilson had a chance to haul himself back, missing a simple red in the fourth frame as King’s 92 per cent pot success rate stunned the world number 15 in Belfast.
But the interval came at the right time for Wilson, a fortunate blue helping him back to 5-2 denying King a pot for more than 45 minutes to set the nerves jangling.
After breaks of 94 and 79 it seemed more would come for the Northamptonshire potter, only for King to snatch his chance and reach the final where he faces either Hawkins or Anthony Hamilton.
“With the table being reclothed I couldn’t find the pace at all and I was hitting everything too thick early on,” Wilson added.
“I finally found my feet but it was too late by then, all credit to Mark, he did what he does best and scrapped out those early frames
“It’s not good enough but I really struggled, it’s an excuse you can’t have when you’re a top player.
“I actually felt really good in my game. At the interval I still fancied it and even at 5-0 down I felt I had a chance, I’d settled onto the table but Mark took his chances when he had to and battled hard."
Wilson has the chance to put things right straight away, though.
He takes on Mitchell Mann in first round tomorrow of the UK Championship in York tomorrow. The match gets under way at 7.30pm.