Trailing 6-2 overnight to the six times champion Steve Davis, last years winner John Higgins made his intentions very clear from the outset, in their second session of this Betfred.com World Championship last sixteen tie.
The Scot stroked in his first attempt at a pot, a long red. Swinging the cue ball around three cushions retaining position on a baulk colour. With a stern gaze upon his face he reduced the deficit to three frames at 6-3 with a 78 break.
In the next of the afternoon session, both players had chances but it was Higgins who stole it after he potted a long range yellow then cleared to pink. Clearly charged up for this match, Higgins left the arena scowling in approval of his success in taking the frame.
Higgins the 'Wizard of Wishaw' looked to be on course to close the gap to just one, until missing a routine red. Davis who dominated throughout the eighties and is simply introduced now as'Legend', by the MC Rob Walker,stepped up to the table and rolled back the years with a frame winning run of 83.To which he received generous applause yet again from this Crucible crowd.
Davis clinched the last before the interval,restoring his four frame lead at the resumption of the match. Eventually sealing the 26 minute frame with efforts of 25 and 30, going to the mid-session break by far the happier of the two players,leaving snookers' famous stage with the soldier-like Davis walk.
Higgins who is thought to be one of the games best ever match players, has been in imperious form this season. And is guaranteed to be ranked the world number one next term, no matter how he or any other player performs.
In the next he showed he was not going to let go of the world crown without a fight. This years Welsh Open winner battled hard in a tough and scrappy frame, sealing the frame with a mere 17 break.
In frame fourteen, Higgins produced the form which helped him lift the trophy last year. He recorded an excellent 106,his third century of this years event and increased the tournaments tally to 25.
A tenacious effort from Higgins in the next, saw the Scot draw within a single frame of the 52 year old Davis, who is making his 30th appearance at the Crucible.
Both players were clearly fully aware of the importance of the final frame of the session.It was Higgins who looked to be favourite to restore parity in the match until missing a straight red. Higgins sat down shaking his head in disgust, Davis dug deep and a solid 55 break helped him secure the last,finishing 9-7 up with nine frames still to play in this second round encounter.
They resume Saturday morning at 10am with a place in the quarter finals at stake.
Graeme Dott opened a commanding 7-1 lead over fellow Scot Stephen Maguire in their second round match at the Betred.com World Snooker Championship.
The 2006 World Champion is looking in great shape and stands an outside chance of reclaiming his place in the Top 16 two years after he dropped out of the elite.
After a re-run of that 2006 final in the first round when he beat Peter Edbon 10-5 to knock him out of the top bracket Dott has kicked on and was in great form in the opening session. Runs of 43 and 94 put him 2-0 up before Maguire pulled back a frame.
There after it was Dott, a break of 110 after the interval put him 4-1 ahead and breaks of 99 and 59 ensured he finished the session 7-1 ahead and leaves Maguire with a mountain to climb.