|Online Tournament Coverage
So Long, Souquet
by Mike Panozzo Jul 17, 2002, 7:37 PM EST
Tournament NotesCardiff Insider
by Gary Baker
* STEVE DAVIS produced the shot of the World Pool Championships Wednesday night to claw his way back from the dead and grab a place in the last 32 by beating Filippino Rodolfo Luat.
The six-time world snooker champion's victory by 9-8 ranks, for incredible victories, alongside the stunning 9-8 win he had over Efren Reyes, known as the best man to ever lift a pool cue, two years ago when 8-3 down.
Davis admitted he was 'dead and buried' against Luat when the man from the Far East ran away to a 7-3 advantage in the race-to-nine knockout match.
But 'Romford Slim' fought and fought to get back and give himself at least a chance of victory.
And his make-or-break shot, when 8-7 down, just moments after Luat had played an equally amazing pot to sink the 9 ball in a combination off a snooker, brought the house down at the Cardiff International Arena.
Davis was left partially snookered on the 8 ball (black) behind the 9, all three balls on the bottom rail.
He hit the cueball with pace to try and strike the 8 but, after the white had done its job on the black, it cannoned into the 9, sending it into the corner pocket - and that was rack over.
Davis, in a show of triumphalism, punched the air as it went in. Although there was an element of luck about it, it was an amazing moment.
It drew the match level at 8-8, setting up a final rack shootout and, as the nerves got to Luat, Davis cleaned up.
The Englishman had a smile as big as a Cheshire Cat on his face afterwards and, although he didn't think it was the best shot he has ever played in either pool or snooker, he admitted: "It was certainly the most enjoyable one."
He added: "I went up and looked at the table and there was an option to knock the 9 ball in. I felt great towards the end. It was fantastic."
* ITALIAN Fabio Petroni is an excitable lad at the best of times but he really let his hair down during the opening three racks of his match with Niels Feijen.
The Dutchman was put under the hammer by the Italian Stallion - and Petroni really did enjoy himself, shouting and screaming when winning racks so much so that he was in danger of getting a warning from referee Michaela Tabb after the third rack.
He managed to calm down a bit after that but then turned all religious.
After every rack, Petroni made the sign of the cross on his body and pulled out the crucifix he is wearing under his shirt to give it a quick kiss for luck.
* JEREMY JONES is one of the nicest guys in the arena this week.
The American superstar went through all sorts of trouble on the tables during his group stage matches, even losing his first game 5-0 to Irish qualifier Tommy Donlon.
However, Jones hit back and qualified for the knockout stages - by one rack - and thinks that the balls are breaking much harder this year than 12 months ago.
Jones also said: "I've always had trouble managing to adjust every time I'm over here although the Mosconi Cup is a little different. Last year in Wales, I grinded my way through (to the quarter finals). This year I've just had to take it one rack at a time. It has been hard but I seem to get better as the tournament gets going."
* CHARLIE WILLIAMS, of the U.S., went down to the revitalised Johnny Archer Wednesday night - and must have thought he was in a boxing ring at the end.
Where boxing assistants in the fighter's corner throw in the towel as a sign of resignation, Charlie could only find his napkin in his pocket - and threw that onto the table instead!
Copyright © 1997-2001 Billiards Digest, All Rights Reserved
LUBY PUBLISHING INC.
122 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1506, Chicago IL 60603