WORLD number one Neil Robertson has warned Ding Junhui to be on top of his game when he faces Peter Ebdon on Thursday.
The Australian was denied a place in the International Championship quarter-finals after suffering an agonising 6-5 defeat to the 2002 world champion.
And after the game Robertson said Ebdon could spring yet another big surprise when he comes up against the Chinese star.
“If Peter plays Ding and plays like he did today I think he will probably win. Ding will have to be very patient and maintain a good temperament,” Robertson told World Snooker.
“Peter is one of the all-time greats and he gives a pint of blood for every shot. He’s a very tough opponent and I’m proud of the way I came back, pretty much anyone else on the tour would have lost 6-3.
“From 3-1 to 5-3, the frames were going for 30 minutes even when he was making big breaks. It makes it very difficult to get any rhythm going.”
Ebdon’s run to the quarter-finals is his highest of the season so far after a disappointing start saw him suffer early exits in the Indian Open and the Wuxi Classic as well as failing to qualify for the venue stages of the Shanghai Masters and Australian Open.
But the former world champion said he was thrilled to get over the winning line.
“I tried to play more quickly today and I’ve already had a few messages from people back in the UK saying I look better when I’m getting on with it,” he said.
“I felt as if I was competing. Neither of us played at our best, but that made it exciting for the fans. I enjoyed it and I’m delighted to win.
“I have been struggling for a while to get back into form. I’ve been working hard on my game and doing a lot of swimming.”