THE FORM of former World Snooker champion Peter Ebdon continued to be the surprise factor of this year’s China Open after he beat Neil Robertson to reach the semi-finals.
In a hard-fought match, the first six three frames were shared before Ebdon began to wear the Australian down and won the last two frames to clinch a great win for the qualifier.
Ebdon will meet China’s Ding Junhui who delighted his home fans by beating Ali Carter 5-2. A close game was in prospect when Carter won the fifth frame to trail 3-2 but the Welsh Open winner pulled away from his opponent to make the last four.
Today also saw an exit for defending China Open champion Judd Trump who lost to Stephen Lee 5-3. Lee pulled it back from 2-0 down to be on level terms with two century breaks before the Wiltshire man took the next two frames to lead 4-2.
Trump kept his hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive when he clinched the seventh frame but it was Lee who had the final say with a break of 96 which sealed the match.
But the game of the day saw Stephen Maguire edge Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-4 with a re-spotted black in the deciding frame of a dramatic match.
Maguire raced into a 2-0 lead against O’Sullivan in what was a repeat of this year’s German Masters Final hitting breaks of 76 and 57. But crowd favourite O’Sullivan got back into and levelled the match at 2-2 going into the interval.
After the break the match went into see-saw affect with Maguire regaining lead and O’Sullivan levelling both times to take the match into a thrilling deciding frame.
And it was Ronnie who had the first real chance of the crucial frame hitting a break of 54 to lead 62-29. But the three times World Champion missed the final red leaving an easy pot for Maguire who then cleared the table to take the match into a re-spotted black finish.
As the drama unfolded it turned out a flukish pot would win it for Maguire. After O’Sullivan played safe, Maguire attempted a cross-double to a centre pocket. It missed by several inches, but incredibly flew across the table and dropped into the opposite middle.
Maguire will meet Stephen Lee in tomorrow’s semi-final.