Higgins holds out despite late surge by Davis

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The Independent Online

John Higgins saw off a brave challenge from the six-times winner Steve Davis to prevail 13-11 in a gripping World Championship second-round match here in Sheffield last night.

Resuming at 10-6 after the morning session, Davis refused to accept defeat and immediately reduced the deficit to 10-8 after some uncharacteristic misses from Higgins.

But the Scot hit back with breaks of 61 and 69 to lead 11-9. He then moved within a frame of victory when Davis missed a straightforward red, but the 42-year-old promptly took the next two frames with clearances of 71 and 73 to reduce Higgins' lead to just 12-11.

A break of 45 put Higgins in control of the next frame and when David missed a red to centre, the world No 2 duly completed victory.

Higgins paid tribute to Davis, saying: "I thought Steve played superbly. He frightened me and I wouldn't have liked to play him in the Eighties."

Anthony Hamilton secured a place in the quarter-finals for the first time after a dramatic 13-12 win over Ken Doherty.

Doherty, the 1997 champion and seeded seventh this year, was trailing 9-7 overnight and won a scrappy opening frame 58-44 before a double kiss on the brown cost him the chance of victory in the next frame which Hamilton won 81-56 to lead 10-8.

A break of 79 won Hamilton the 19th frame, but Doherty won two closely-fought rubbers to leave himself 11-10 behind. The Irishman then levelled the match and kept his cool to edge ahead 12-11.

The game had been so keenly contested that a deciding frame was inevitable and Hamilton obliged by winning the next. He then held his nerve to win the final frame with a carefully-crafted break of 66.

Joe Swail sealed a remarkable victory over John Parrott, the No 5 seed, when he came from 12-8 behind to win the final five frames and reach the quarter-finals.

The 30-year-old Ulsterman compiled one of the great Crucible comebacks with an exhibition of crisp potting to set up a meeting with Dominic Dale.

Matthew Stevens booked his place in the last eight after a 13-4 victory over Alan McManus. The Welshman needed just one more frame from last night's final session and duly obliged to set up a meeting with Jimmy White.