By Tony Jimenez
LONDON (Reuters) - Gerard Greene had to travel 7,000 miles to meet 'neighbor' Barry Hawkins in the first round of the China Open snooker tournament and then fly straight back after losing 5-2.
World number five Hawkins compiled breaks of 124, 81, 80 and 76 to overpower Greene, a player he has practiced with for years at their local club in Kent, south-east England.
"The draw wasn't too clever," world number 42 Greene told Reuters on his return. "Barry and me play at the same club every day and we had to travel 7,000 miles to play each other.
"It was a bit disappointing but there was nothing we could do about it. It was just the way the draw worked out.
"We went all that way for a best-of-nine frames match and we are almost next-door neighbors. It was a bit of a wasted journey for one of us," said Greene.
"I told him 'well played', we both had something to eat afterwards and then I came straight home."
Greene was partially consoled by the fact he and Hawkins were not alone in their Beijing predicament.
"Matthew Stevens and Jamie Jones also practice at the same club in Wales and the same thing happened to them in the first round," said Greene.
"Matthew was a bit annoyed after he lost but there's not much anyone can do about it."
(Editing by Ken Ferris)