World Champion Stuart Bingham was knocked out of the Betway UK Championship as Peter ‘The Force’ Ebdon produced vintage form to score a 6-3 victory.
Ebdon won the world title in 2002 and the UK crown in 2006, but has since slipped to 34th in the rankings. Today’s result put him into the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time since February’s German Masters. And it was a fine display from the 45-year-old as he set up a match with David Grace or Jack Lisowski in York.
Bingham has had a patchy season so far, with a run to the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters the only real highlight, and the Crucible king will be looking for more consistent form in the second half of the campaign.
A break of 66 gave Ebdon the opening frame and he cleared with 41 to take the second. Bingham got going with a run of 88 in frame three, and the next four were shared to leave the score at 4-3. And it was London-born Ebdon who finished strongly with breaks of 52 and 109 to win the last two frames.
“Last night it looked like I was going home as I was 5-4 down against Dominic Dale,” said Ebdon, a winner of nine ranking events. “I made two very good breaks to win 6-5 but I didn’t get to sleep until 3am and only had five hours sleep. This morning I ate five bananas, some apples and grapes and I felt fresh as a daisy.
“I played an attacking game today, went for my shots and it’s a great win for me to beat someone of Stuart’s class. It’s nice to know my heart is still ticking.
“The table fitters here have taken a lot of stick in recent days but they did a magnificent job last night and the conditions were very good today.”
John Higgins continued his bid to win a fourth ranking event of the year by beating Ali Carter 6-2. Scotland’s Higgins played superbly to win the recent International Championship and is targeting his second consecutive ranking title and 29th of his career.
Carter won the opening frame with a break of 89 but Higgins nicked the second with a 52 clearance then added the third with an excellent long pot on the final pink to a baulk corner. Another trademark clearance 77 – put him 3-1 ahead and he stretched his lead to 5-1 with runs of 57 and 59.
Carter suffered from abdominal pain during the match, caused by Crohn’s disease, which hampered his chances of success. He pulled one back only for Higgins to dish up again, with 57, to secure victory in frame eight.
“It’s a very good win for me,” said 40-year-old Higgins, who now meets friend Jamie Burnett. “I was delighted to be 3-1 up at the interval because I could have been 3-1 down, and I knew Ali would have been gutted. I am back competing which is a good feeling. I know I can turn up to tournaments and have a chance to win.
“Jamie has been playing well. I prefer not to play the other Scots, it won’t be easy. we used to practise together but I don’t think he has played anyone in practice for about the last five years, he only does an hour or two on his own here and there.”
Hamilton’s Burnett, a quarter-finalist at the International Championship last season, saw off China’s Li Hang 6-3 with top breaks of 81, 59, 56 and 64.
Matthew Selt set up a match with Robin Hull or Luca Brecel by beating Robbie Williams 6-3 with a top run of 117. But Selt insisted: “I was terrible, I hit the wrong side of the ball a few times. In my previous match I played my Z game and today I’d say it was my T game, so I’m hoping to go up to C or D next time. I just hope if someone plays well against me I’ll be able to improve.”