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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 January, 2004, 23:06 GMT
O'Sullivan denies Davis
Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan clawed his way back
Ronnie O'Sullivan held his nerve to edge out veteran Steve Davis 9-8 in a last-frame decider in the final of the Welsh Open in Cardiff.

O'Sullivan fought back from 8-5 down, reeling off the final four frames of the night to prevent Davis claiming his first ranking title in nine years.

Davis played superbly to open up a 4-1 lead before O'Sullivan staged a comeback in the afternoon session.

And the evening session followed the same pattern as O'Sullivan roared back.

Davis had threatened to race away with the final as he moved into a 3-0 lead with breaks of 40, 74 and 42.

O'Sullivan responded with a 58 but lost the fifth frame when Davis doubled the final black over the full length of the table after fluking the pink.

At 8-5 down I had my back against the wall and came out fighting
Ronnie O'Sullivan
The world number three ended the session with back to back centuries of 125 and 139 to leave the match all square at 4-4.

In the evening session, Davis moved ahead again with runs of 66 and 53, and seemed to be on the verge of taking the title when he reached 8-5 after O'Sullivan conceded the 13th frame.

But O'Sullivan regained his composure to fire in breaks of 118, 77 and a steely 48 to level the match again.

And in a tense final frame decider, O'Sullivan's untypically patient approach paid dividends as he won in five scoring visits.

O'Sullivan was delighted with his victory over the six-time world champion.

I feel like an angler who had a big one there for the taking but failed to land it.
Steve Davis
"It was an unbelievable game to be involved in and I can't believe I won," said O'Sullivan.

"It was very tough - Steve made it hard to get into any sort of rhythm. I didn't feel confident at all but I was never going to give in.

"At 8-5 down I had my back against the wall and came out fighting."

A dejected Davis paid tribute to O'Sullivan's staying power but admitted he had failed to close out the match with the winning line in sight.

"I let him off the hook at 8-5 and he came back well," said Davis.

"I feel like an angler who had a big one there for the taking but failed to land it.

"I played some good stuff out there - I wasn't found wanting. It would have been nice if Ronnie had collapsed after conceding that frame but he came back with a great century."

Frame scores: (O'Sullivan first) 30-78, 0-74, 30-72, 76-9, 65-67, 84-45, 129 (125) -12, 139 (139) - 0, 63-68, 25-71, 103 (103) - 0, 42-79, 48-53, 118 (118) - 0, 81-40, 74-55, 92-26

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