From dominant force in the Eighties to rank outsider this year, Steve Davis has filed innumerable memories for action replays in his mind but will there ever be one more vivid than his astonishing 13-11 victory over John Higgins, the defending champion, to become the oldest World Championship quarter-finalist for 27 years.
Higgins, three-times champion and certain to top the end-of-season rankings, was quoted at 20-1 on for the match. But Davis, 52, has discovered the road to resurgence after a visitor to his website pointed out that he was moving his head on the shot. It was his experience and capacity to cope with pressure that carried him through after leads of 9-7 and 11-9 had been negated.
With tension producing mistakes on both sides, Davis went one up with two to play and then Higgins missed a dolly red on 43-0 in the next frame. Finally, with a stroke of inspiration, Davis doubled the brown, cannoned the blue over a pocket and added the pink for victory. "The storyline of a match can play on your emotions. You wonder: can I get over the line? So when you do, it's a massive relief," said the elated Davis.
Neil Robertson escaped from 11-5 down to beat Martin Gould 13-12, only the second time such a recovery has been completed at the Crucible, and will now play Davis. Robertson closed to only one frame behind, but Gould went to 12-10 and, at 12-12, led 40-1 in the decider before the Australian's 53 completed his amazing recovery.
Graeme Dott led Stephen Maguire 11-1 and survived a fightback to win 13-6 and earn a quarter-final with Mark Allen.