Snooker: Wattana to meet Davis

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The Independent Online
JAMES WATTANA defeated Stephen Hendry at Derby yesterday to reach the final of the Wickes Home Improvement British Open for the second consecutive year and so become the first player this season to earn pounds 300,000.

More important to the 23-year- old Thai than the pounds 50,000 top prize, though, is a first ranking title success. Producing his best form since winning the World Matchplay title at Doncaster last December, he defeated Hendry 6- 4 to achieve what was only his third victory over the Scot in 11 meetings. Only a late attack of nerves prevented a more emphatic triumph for Wattana.

Wattana meets Steve Davis in the final after the former world champion had disposed of the defending champion, Jimmy White, 6-3. The Londoner missed a green in the fourth frame which could have given him a 3-1 lead. Davis playing at the top of his form was quick to take advantage.

In the first and last frames, Davis produced century breaks which ended White's involvement. 'I've been playing better than ever in practice but now I'm doing it where it matters most - in tournaments,' Davis said.

Standing between Davis and the Open title is Wattana. When they met last December in the World Matchplay final Wattana won 9-4. However, Davis, who has shown the most consistency over all their previous meetings, is confident of gaining revenge in today's best-of-19 frames final.

WICKES HOME IMPROVEMENT BRITISH OPEN (Derby): Semi-finals: J Wattana (Thai) bt S Hendry (Sco) 6-4; S Davis (Eng) bt J White (Eng) 6-3.