Mark Davis produced a gallant effort in defeat to a four-time winner at the Betfred World Snooker Championship.
The world number 38 from St Leonards was beaten 10-7 by fifth-ranked John Higgins in round one of the sport’s flagship event at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
Higgins, who won the world title in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011, made three century breaks and five others over 60, while Davis fashioned five half-centuries of his own in a good quality contest.
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After Davis took the opening frame of the first session yesterday (Sunday) morning without conceding a point thanks largely to a run of 57, Higgins hit back with a break of 100 in frame two and recovered from 40-0 down with the aid of a fluke to clinch frame three.
Davis, who had won six of his previous seven meetings with Higgins in ranking events, comfortably won frame four to sit level at the mid-session interval.
The 46-year-old didn’t pot a ball in the next two frames as Higgins went 4-2 up with runs of 61 and 75. Davis claimed frame seven without conceding a point thanks largely to a 51, but didn’t score a point in the final two frames of the session as Higgins made breaks of 84 and two 63s.
Although Davis went into this afternoon’s second session trailing 6-3, he cut his deficit to 6-5 by winning the opening two frames with runs of 57 and 64. Higgins then edged a tight 12th frame before Davis made an 82 in the next to trail 7-6 at the interval.
Higgins fashioned a magnificent 135 break in frame 14 only for Davis to comfortably take the next and make the score 8-7. Davis scored just seven points in the subsequent two frames, however, as Higgins sealed his victory with the help of a 132.
It was Davis’s 11th appearance at The Crucible having come through the qualifiers for a record 10th time last week.