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Page last updated at 17:33 GMT, Friday, 23 April 2010 18:33 UK

Davis maintains lead over defending champion Higgins

Date: 17 April-3 May 2010 Venue: The Crucible, Sheffield
Coverage: Live coverage each day on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only), updates on BBC Radio 5 Live. Full TV schedule
Davis v Higgins & Dott v Maguire : Live from 1000 BST, Saturday

Steve Davis
Davis could not replicate his form of Thursday

Six-time champion Steve Davis needs to win four frames on Saturday to pull off a shock defeat of defending champion John Higgins at the Crucible.

Davis led 6-2 after the first session but looked to be feeling the strain as Higgins won three frames in a row to trail 8-7 in the best of 25 encounter.

But Davis, 52, won a tense final frame to lead 9-7 at the end of the session.

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen became the first man to reach the quarter-finals with a 13-5 win over Mark Davis.

Qualifier Martin Gould leads Australia's Neil Robertson, the world number nine, 11-5, while Graeme Dott, the 2006 champion, is 7-1 ahead against fellow Scot Stephen Maguire.

Higgins is attempting to defend his title and become the first man to land back-to-back Crucible titles since Stephen Hendry won five in a row from 1992 to 1996.


But he is fighting to stay in the tournament when the match resumes at 1000 BST.

Davis, who last won the crown in 1989, is making his 30th appearance at the Crucible in Sheffield and remained tentatively on course to pull off one of his greatest Crucible victories as Higgins continued to struggle for form.

Davis had played superbly to lead 6-2 overnight, and when they split the opening four frames of the second session it meant he would at least finish the session on level terms.

Higgins began with a frame-winning 78 break, and then added the second frame of the day.

The response was emphatic, Davis producing an 83 break before grabbing another frame.

A scrappy, low-scoring frame went Higgins' way after the interval, before he fired in a break of 106 to trail by only 8-6.

Yet neither man was playing particularly well, with both the 5-1 favourite Higgins and the 500-1 outsider Davis missing plenty of balls.

Allen 'quietly confident' after win

Higgins cut the gap to 8-7, and should have then gone level but missed a simple red at 28-1 ahead in frame 16.

Davis was not about to pass up the gift, and he rattled in a rapid 55 break before going on to nick the frame.

Mark Davis had won the first two frames of his match with Allen, but the Antrim man then took control, taking his tally to three centuries in the match, including Thursday's 146 and runs of 131 and 101 in the final two frames.

Allen, 24, said: "I've started to close out matches pretty well now and to finish with two centuries was an added bonus.

"I feel like that form's been coming because I've been making seventies and eighties every time I get in and scoring well."

Englishman Gould knocked out former world finalist Nigel Bond in qualifying and defeated Hong Kong's Marco Fu in the first round proper at the Crucible.

Robertson, a semi-finalist in last year's tournament, was reduced to the role of a spectator as Gould, who has never before reached this stage of the competition, surged into a 6-0 lead.

The Melbourne potter did halt the Londoner's run with a break of 71 to win the seventh frame before a contribution of 53 reduced the deficit further.

But Gould took the evening session 5-3, putting together breaks of 58 and 63.

Dott, needing to reach the semi-finals to reclaim his place in the top 16, made breaks of 94, 110, 99 and 59, while Maguire had a top break of 35.

World number two Maguire has never reached a Crucible final, and his prospects for this year look bleak.

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see also
Final scores from the Crucible
20 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Davis leads Higgins at Crucible
22 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Ebdon hits out at Hearn proposals
22 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Ebdon drops out of world's top 16
22 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Evans invited to play against men
21 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Frustrated Day bemoans poor year
22 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Davis defeats King in final frame
21 Apr 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan through despite wobble
20 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Ask the experts
29 Apr 10 |  Snooker
World Championship results
15 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Century breaks
17 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker

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