Peter Ebdon emerged from a thriller with fellow former world champion Shaun Murphy to reach the second round of the inaugural World Grand Prix in Wales on Tuesday.
The English pair played out an entertaining affair that went the distance, Murphy claiming the snooker he needed to dramatically force the decider before his opponent duly knocked in a wonderful 136 total clearance to prevail.
In the past few campaigns, Ebdon’s form has been patchy to say the least, with a string of losses suddenly countered by an unexpected deep run in a tournament.
However, this season the 2002 world champion has been more consistent, regularly winning a couple of encounters in events before bowing out in the middle rounds.
Despite now approaching 45, Ebdon remains a significant force to be reckoned with and an equal match for almost anybody on his day.
It would not be that surprising to see him emerge as a title contender this week, particularly as the competition’s nature of always playing a top contender will suit his game.
Ebdon has been notorious throughout his career for grinding out results where seemingly it seemed improbable but one player who cannot buy a win at the moment is Ding Junhui.
The Chinese superstar had a dream season last year but this one has been more like a nightmare, and it is seemingly just getting worse and worse.
The 27 year-old went down 4-1 to fifth seed Ricky Walden as he continues to look like a shadow of the man who was triumphing so often only 12 months ago.
Indian Open runner-up Walden wasn’t at his best either but didn’t need to be as he comfortably enough set up a last 16 clash with home favourite Mark Williams.
The Welshman reversed a 3-1 deficit to force a decider with countryman Ryan Day, and then came form 60-1 down in the seventh frame to snatch it on the final colours.
Another local player, the man of the moment Michael White, couldn’t continue his sequence of success, though, as he went down 4-2 to Robert Milkins.
Judd Trump, who compiled a 140 which stands as the high break of the tournament so far, and Joe Perry had much easier times of it with their 4-0 drubbings of Dominic Dale and Ben Woollaston respectively.
Elsewhere, Mark Davis beat Marco Fu 4-1 and Graeme Dott outwitted John Higgins in a battle of the Scots that went all the way.
The second round is contested on Wednesday with eight matches deciding our eight quarter-finalists in Llandudno.