Snooker: Threat to Taylor's ranking

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The Independent Online
DENNIS TAYLOR, who won the world title in 1985, could lose his place in the world's top 16 for the first time since the rankings were introduced 17 years ago after being humbled by Ian Graham in the third round of the Wickes Home Improvement British Open in Derby yesterday.

Graham took three of the first four frames and then compiled the highest break of the match, 77, in the fifth on his way to a 5-1 victory.

Two other former world champions, Steve Davis and Joe Johnson, enjoyed better fortune. Davis overwhelmed his English rival Les Dodd 5-0 and Johnson, who succeeded Taylor as world champion, routed Tony O'Connor 5-2.

The rookie Steve Lee continued his fine run with a 5-2 victory over Steve James, the world No 10. The 17-year-old Lee, who reached the quarter-finals of last week's European Open, won the last four frames to set up a match against the New Zealander Dene O'Kane for a place in the televised stages.

WICKES HOME IMPROVEMENT BRITISH OPEN (Derby) Third round: P Ebdon (Eng) bt G Wilkinson (Eng) 5-4; J Johnson (Eng) bt A O'Connor (Irl) 5-2; D Morgan (Wal) bt P Davies (Wal) 5- 1; A Hamilton (Eng) bt D Mountjoy (Wal)5-1; S Lee (Eng) bt S James (Eng) 5-2; S Davis (Eng) bt L Dodd (Eng) 5-0; D Finbow (Eng) bt P Francisco (SA) 5-1; M Hallett (Eng) bt C Small (Sco) 5-3; I Graham (Eng) bt D Taylor (N Irl) 5-1; J Swail (N Irl) bt A Robidoux (Can) 5-2; J Parrott (Eng) bt A Higgins (N Irl) 5-0; J Wattana (Thai) bt M Davis (Eng) 5-4; T Drago (Malta) bt J Wych (Can) 5-2.