MARK DAVIS says he won’t let himself think of lifting the williamhill.com UK Championship trophy – even though he is closer than he has ever been to getting his hands on a major title, writes Steve Carroll.
A 66-1 outsider to win the tournament before play got under way at the Barbican, the Hastings potter will reach his first ranking tournament final if he can beat world number two Mark Selby today.
The Indian summer continues for the 40-year-old, who has beaten Cao Yupeng, John Higgins and, in the quarter-finals on Thursday night, Matthew Stevens, to reach the last four.
But, despite being in the form of his life and cementing his new-found place in the top 16 of the world rankings, Davis said he will not get carried away at his success and isn’t yet picturing himself in triumph tomorrow night.
“It’s a long way away yet. I’ll take one game at a time,” he said. “I’ll try not to think about winning it yet even though I am quite close. There are a lot of frames to be won yet and I won’t get carried away.”
Davis has a desperate match record against Selby, having only beaten him once in 12 meetings, but – having worked with former world champion Terry Griffiths on the mental side of his game – the Hastings potter is unconcerned.
Davis added: “I haven’t beaten Mark very often. I know what I can do and, if I do that, I’ll expect it to be enough. If it isn’t then so be it. I don’t really pay attention to whether I’ve got a good record or a bad record.
“It’s a different day and a different match. It doesn’t mean anything to me.”
Despite reaching two ranking semi-finals this season, and having played on the one table set up at the Masters, it will still be an unfamiliar experience in front of a packed house at the Barbican. But it’s one he is relishing.
“The UK is the second biggest tournament we have got and it is a brilliant achievement to be in the semis, but I don’t want it to end there,” Davis said. “I want to keep going as far as I can. One more match and you are in the final.
“I will try and approach it in the same way.
“Obviously the set up will be different – with one table – which I am not used to.
“I can’t wait to play the semis. Getting into the top 16 at the age of 40 is probably some sort of record, I reckon.
“It’s nice to be in there on merit and I am just playing well.”
And on what coach Griffiths brings to his game, he said: “I was always willing to learn and if you have bad thoughts and don’t know how to put them right it’s hard to change it.
“It’s quite simple really. He just chats to you and tries to relax you and it’s good stuff that we do. I owe him a lot.”