• World Championship

Higgins fights back to halve Davis's advantage

ESPN staff
April 23, 2010
Steve Davis and John Higgins are almost neck and neck © Getty Images

John Higgins battled back in the second session of his second-round tie with Steve Davis on Friday, closing the gap to 9-7 in the best-of-25 match at the Snooker World Championships.

Both men are locked in a tight shoot-out for the right to play in the quarter-finals, where Mark Allen already awaits after he quickly saw off Mark Davis 13-5 to become the first man into the last eight. Two quickfire tons saw Allen through after just half an hour of the evening session.

Meanwhile Higgins, who trailed 6-2 going into his second session with Davis, showed the hallmark of a champion by coming out to take the first two frames, as Davis made a couple of mistakes that just were not evident the previous evening.

However, Higgins was not faultless himself, and two errors from the reigning champion then allowed Davis to re-assert his authority in frames 11 and 12. Higgins missed a black off the spot when looking set to make it three frames on the spin, allowing Davis to step in with an 83 clearance, and then when Higgins was well set in 12th frame he suffered a horrible kick on a red, which Davis cleared to the pink to restore his four-frame cushion at the mid-session interval.

With the score at 8-4, Davis had the chance to build an even greater lead as Higgins missed a black off the spot and later a simple brown in the 13th, but Davis was not at the same level as the previous evening and the defending champion cut the gap to three frames.

A rare century (106) from Higgins then propelled him to within one at 8-7, but then a costly missed brown denied the Scot parity going into the final session as Davis cleared up for a 55 run-in that leaves him four frames from victory.

Stephen Maguire had plenty of opportunity to watch the Davis v Higgins match after he spent the majority of the first session against Graeme Dott in his chair. Maguire was clearly seen cranking his neck around the partition to try and see what all the cheers were about as Dott rattled into a 7-1 second-round lead.

The opening frame was close as Dott ended up stealing it on the black, before he cemented his advantage with a break of 94 for a 2-0 lead. Maguire hit back in the third frame, but then a wonderfully constructed 110 in the fifth ensured the 2006 world champion a 4-1 cushion.

Martin Gould showed steely determination against Neil Robertson © Getty Images

Frame six lasted an eternity after the referee eventually initiated a re-rack, but Dott once again held his focus to take it on the colours. And from there he accelerated with a break of 99 on his way to a six-frame advantage.

Martin Gould looks odds-on to reach the quarter-finals after he maintained a healthy lead over Neil Robertson during the second session of their last-16 clash. Gould returned to the table with a 6-2 advantage on Friday evening, and he extended that gap to 11-5 by the end of play.

Robertson's game simply disintegrated after he began the evening with an 86 break for 6-3, and Gould took full advantage with a solid night's snooker. His last frame of the night was perhaps the most memorable as he pulled off a plant and a table-length swerve to pot the green on the way to a 63.

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