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Snooker legend Davis seeks Walden win at UK Championship

Steve Davis will be looking to roll back the years at the UK Championship, as he takes on snooker’s world number eight Ricky Walden. The six-time winner of this event and a world champion on as many occasions is an 11/1 outsider to upset his opponent here, however, and a 1000/1 shot with Coral to win their sponsored event outright.

Nicknamed ‘the Nugget’, Davis has been victorious in only two of his seven head-to-heads with recently crowned International Championship winner Walden that have been in knockout formats. This explains why ‘the Walnut’ is a strong odds-on favourite a 1/20 to progress to round two at York’s Barbican Centre.

Davis, a finalist at the UK Championship as recently as 2005, has beaten Walden by the odd frame over best of nine and seven contests in each of the last two years, however. Couple those results with Walnut wins in short matches in 2011 and 2009, and all signs seem to point to there being a decider in this first to 11 contest. Tempting odds of 9/1 say this match-up will go the distance.

Elsewhere during the evening session of day two, world number one and reigning Crucible king Mark Selby beings his bid to regain the UK crown that Neil Robertson wrested from him last season. ‘The Jester from Leicester’ is 8/1 for the title, and a strong odds-on 1/12 favourite to beat qualifier Oliver Brown (7/1 to pull off a shock), so should make light work of this opening round match.

World number 22 Ryan Day, meanwhile, has never really performed to his capabilities at this prestigious ranking event. He’s never made it past the second round in a dozen attempts of reaching the tournament proper.

Nonetheless, Welsh potter Day is odds-on at 2/15 to beat Chinese cueman Lu Chenwei. The 23-year-old reached round one of the Wuxi Classic earlier this season, but should not provide much resistance at 5/1 to cause an upset.