6) PETER EBDON 13, RONNIE O’SULLIVAN 11 (Quarter-finals, 2005)
This was perhaps the most controversial match ever played at the Crucible as Ebdon pulled off a great comeback and O’Sullivan mentally imploded.
O’Sullivan’s title defence looked to be on track when he led 8-2 and heading into the final session with a 10-6 lead he was widely regarded to be a dead cert for the semi-finals.
And then Ebdon got stuck in. And how. The pace slowed right down and the grinding began.
He had long been methodical but rarely this methodical. One break of 12 took five minutes to compile. Ebdon later claimed he had not slowed down deliberately but he must have been aware that he got under the notoriously fragile O’Sullivan’s skin.
The scenes inside the Crucible arena were bizarre: O’Sullivan dragging his nails into his forehead until he drew blood, standing on his chair, laughing and, above all, losing.
Ebdon’s victory was ultimately completed within the rules as he wasn’t warned for time wasting. Some thought it a victory for an old style match player using all he had to get the result. Others thought it a disgrace.
Either way, he was in the semi-finals and O’Sullivan wasn’t.