Legend Steve Davis still making his Mark
Mark Allen wasn’t even born when Steve Davis started winning world titles — but the Antrim cueman feels the 52-year-old could cause a few more surprises at the Crucible.
Davis, whose last world title was in 1989, shocked the sport by beating current champion John Higgins 13-11 on Saturday to book his place in the quarter-finals.
Davis’ amazing run to the last eight comes on the 25th anniversary of the most famous snooker match of all time — his black ball defeat against Ulsterman Dennis Taylor in the 1985 World Championship decider.
The Londoner had been due to play a one-frame exhibition with Taylor, part of the BBC commentary team at the Crucible, on Thursday to mark the anniversary, but that may now have to be put on hold with Davis possibly involved in the semi-finals on the same day.
And 24-year-old Allen, also through to the last eight, believes Davis could go even further in the £1.1m tournament.
“Steve beating John was a big, big shock, not just in terms of the result but the way Steve played,” said Allen, who starts his best of 25-frame clash against 2006 world champion Graeme Dott — a surprise 13-6 winner over world number two Stephen Maguire — tomorrow morning.
“He played well right through the match and deservedly won.”
Davis — a 400-1 outsider at the start of the tournament and now just 20-1 — also upset the odds in the first round by beating top 16 player Mark King, but that result paled into insignificance after the victory over Higgins.
The man who won the first of his six titles in 1981 before going on to dominate the sport for a decade, will take on Australia’s Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals, starting tomorrow morning.
Davis had become one of the most popular players on the circuit in his ‘old age’ — ironic given that he was never exactly a crowd favourite in his pomp.
Davis said: “It's a funny old life. If you went back to the 1980s, and some of the boos I got when I came in as the villain in the pantomime — not a load but enough — to think they stood up and cheered is just amazing.
“Until I potted the final pink and held myself together while I was shaking like a leaf, perhaps I didn't believe it was going to happen,” added Davis, reflecting on his stunning victory.
Another veteran currently going well at the Crucible is seven-times champion Stephen Hendry, who resumes today at |4-4 against Masters champion Mark Selby.
UK Championship winner Ding Junhui is also back in action today, leading 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy 5-3.
Both matches conclude tonight.
Ronnie O’Sullivan will play to a finish against Mark Williams this afternoon with the match delicately poised at 8-8 after last night’s second session.