Steve Davis’s 4-3 victory over Ali Carter at Newport yesterday was not just a great win but also a great performance.
Davis finished off with a century in the decider, his second of the match. This was vintage fare from the legend, who is defying time and even logic as his career continues unabated.
From one of snooker’s best known names to a relative unknown, Sam Baird secured his last 32 place with a 4-2 defeat of Dominic Dale.
Baird looked comfortable early on and brought up 3-1 with a 136 total clearance before he inevitably began to feel a little pressure. However, Dale also made mistakes and Baird scrambled over the line in the sixth to set up a clash with Mark Selby.
So to today and another Devonian, Andy Hicks, who has slightly fallen off the radar, certainly in terms of TV appearances, takes on Mark Williams, the only Welshman to win the Welsh Open.
Andy never quite fulfilled the promise he showed by reaching the World Championship semi-finals on his Crucible debut in 1995, although he would go on to reach the same stage of the UK Championship and the Masters.
But the good thing about snooker is that you can enjoy longevity past the stage of most other sports – as Davis is proving.
Stephen Hendry can cling to this as he prepares to face Neil Robertson, one of the players of the season thus far.
Hendry is looking for a good performance on TV against a top player. He has been looking for this for some time.
Perhaps the difference between him and Davis is that Davis isn’t looking for it, but will take it if it comes.
Hendry is in a curious position right now. He is good enough to be in the world’s top 20 but not quite good enough to be in the top 16.
Four places doesn’t seem much but it is a gap that can only be breached by victories over top players.
The top 16 has now been settled in terms of personnel if not placings so the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stuart Bingham, who plays Mark King today, can relax a little.
Mark Allen has injured a finger and received treatment for it. Quite how this will affect his performance tomorrow against Ken Doherty remains to be seen but it’s hardly ideal.
I have thought for a long time that Allen will win a ranking title. He came very close at the UK Championship. Maybe someone said he ‘just needs to pull his finger out’ and there was a misunderstanding.