Snooker: Robertson in command as the old magic deserts Davis

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The Independent Online

Steve Davis' dreams of winning a seventh world title looked set to be shattered as Neil Robertson cruises towards a second consecutive Crucible semi-final.

Davis at least dragged his match out into a third and final session after winning the final two frames of last night's action, but one frame is all the Australian needs and he is sure to wrap up victory. Speaking after storming into his seemingly unassailable 12-4 lead last night, Robertson said: "At the start of the day I would have been very happy with a 12-4 lead to take into tomorrow. Steve struggled a bit, and the table was pretty bad in the morning session.

"I just lost my concentration a little bit at the end there," he added. "I could have wrapped it up and had tomorrow off. But it is going to be very difficult for him to come back from there. I'll have to concentrate hard to finish the job. I was thinking about trying to get round the black for a maximum, and you can't do that. If I was playing anyone else I would have done it, but I think Steve was very determined not to lose with a session to spare."

On the adjacent table Scotland's Graeme Dott and Northern Ireland's Mark Allen ended their day's play locked at eight frames each. A tense final session is in store when their quarter-final resumes this morning.

Following the euphoria surrounding his earlier second-round defeat of reigning champion John Higgins, Davis just could not reproduce that kind of form. A break of 53 helped win the Aussie the first frame in a fraction over 17 minutes, while the score moved to 9-1 in a scrappier effort that went on for more than half-an-hour. At that point Davis already looked a beaten man, but from somewhere he plucked out a 128 which certainly brought a smile to his face. It was quickly back to business as usual for Robertson, though, as he proceeded to rattle off four straight frames.

Meanwhile, tournament favourite and world No 1 Ronnie O'Sullivan will resume his quarter-final this afternoon locked at 4-4 against Leicester's Mark Selby. The two produced a dismal opening session yesterday afternoon, during which excitement and thrilling break-building were in short supply.

Looking distinctly unimpressed at times, O'Sullivan produced a 67 break in the sixth frame and an 81 in the eighth to level it ahead of today's action.

Shaun Murphy just about got the better of Ali Carter in the opening session of their last eight match, going 5-3 in front ahead of this morning's resumption.