It was back in 2002 when Peter Ebdon last achieved success at the World Snooker Championship, but his recent display at the China Open indicates he may be ready to launch an assault on this year’s title, at a massive 50/1.
Ebdon will have to negotiate a tricky tie with 7/1 tournament chance Ronnie O’Sullivan to progress past the first round, though he has bested ‘Rocket Ronnie’ at the Crucible on two occasions in the past, including their controversial quarter-final meeting of 2005.
During that clash, O’Sullivan was frustrated by what he perceived to be tactical slow play from Ebdon, though the three-time World Championship finalist was keen to point out that the lethargic pace of his game was unintentional, and a result of excessive concentration.
Gamesmanship or not, it aided ‘The Ebdonator’ on his way to victory in that match, and also in his triumph over Stephen Maguire in the recent China Open final, which spanned over eight hours in total.
The fact that Ebdon bested John Higgins, Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui as well as Maguire en route to a ninth rankings title in Beijing, would seem to suggest that the 2002 world champion is nearing a rediscovery of his best form too.
In truth, he could have won by a much more comfortable margin than the 10-9 scoreline he achieved over Maguire, though saw his 5-1 lead cut by three frames in the first session of the match as a penalty for slow play.
It must be tempting for Ebdon to play in a similar manner when he initially participates in Sheffield however, as he will have a much better chance of conquering O’Sullivan should he manage to frustrate his hot-headed opponent.
Also, as O’Sullivan himself has recently outlined a belief that he doesn’t currently have the mental strength to be successful at the Crucible, Ebdon could be worth snapping up at 50/1 prior to his first tournament match on Monday.