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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 20:19 GMT
Davis makes early Malta Cup exit
Steve Davis
Davis was on the end of the first major upset in Portomaso
Steve Davis crashed out of the Malta Cup at the first hurdle, beaten 5-4 by wildcard Andrew Higginson.

Peter Ebdon also nearly made an early exit as he trailed 4-1 to wildcard David Roe but fought back to win 5-4.

Scot Stephen Maguire beat China's Ding Junhui 5-2, and reigning champion Ken Doherty of Ireland beat Nigel Bond 5-3.

Fergal O'Brien saw off Welsh star Mark Williams 5-4, and John Parrott came through his qualifier, edging out local favourite Tony Drago 5-4.

Six-time world champion Davis rallied from 2-0 and 4-2 down, but Higginson kept his nerve, and a break of 67 in the final frame secured victory.

I'm in more control of my game than I was, but I'm still making the odd howler

Former world champion John Parrott

Ebdon fought back with breaks of 50, 60, 39, 46 and 63, and a classy run of 88 in the decider put him through.

The current UK champion said: "It was tough. Dave played very solidly.

"I thought if he had potted a pink in the final frame, then he'd have probably gone on to win."

He added: "I didn't feel too much early on, but at 4-2 down I felt a little surge of adrenaline. Fortunately I just got going in time."

Ebdon now faces Maguire, who hit breaks of 75, 48 and 61 en route to the last 16.

Maguire is a big fan of Malta and said: "I love this tournament. I hate to go home, so I'm trying to win every match."

Higginson takes on Ireland's defending Doherty, who is in confident mood.

"I had a great time last year when I won - and there's no reason why I can't win it again," he said.

Two-time world champion Williams was beaten on the final black in the final frame by Dubliner O'Brien having battled back from 2-0 down to lead 4-3.



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