Well done if you predicted today's China Open final line-up before a ball was struck in Beijing. Stephen Maguire v Peter Ebdon was, I suspect, not a widely tipped finale but both these players are proven winners, not least of this tournament.

The 2008 China Open gave Maguire the last of his four major ranking titles. I'm sure he feels four years has been too long to wait for a fifth, although it's not like there's been a tournament every week in this time.

Maguire has remained consistent for the last four years and come within touching distance of titles - as in Wales last year and Germany this season - without quite winning one.

Ebdon won his eighth world ranking title at the 2009 China Open. Then, as now, he was badly out of form going into the tournament but found some inspiration.

It makes a difference when you've done it before. It means you know it is in you somewhere.

Ebdon digs deeper than most and his stamina is remarkable given the way he plays.

Snooker would be boring if every player had the same style or same personality. It is the variety, the richness, the multitude of personalities which keeps it fascinating.

What we've seen this season is that the game doesn't rest on two or three players to keep it interesting. With more tournaments, more players have a chance to shine and are taking it.

If Ebdon wins today he will set a new record for the longest gap between first and most recent world ranking titles.

Maguire, I feel, will need to get going early on and score as heavily as he did against Stephen Lee yesterday. In other words, keep his more methodical opponent away from the table and not let him dictate the style and pace of the final.


Anonymous said...

I'd love to see Peter win just so he'd get into the Premier League this year. Imagine if knocked Ronnie off his throne!

Dzierzgul said...

I believe it was in 2007 when Maguire played Ebdon in Malta Cup. After losing the match he said in a press conference: "Peter Ebdon has destroyed my will to live".

I personally love watching Ebdon play (at least if he's playing as well as this week), but I gotta admit: had Dalai Lama and Gandhi had a child together and that child grew up to be a snooker player, Peter Ebdon would still be able to frustrate him into eating his cue case.

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Anonymous said...

You have to take your hat off to Ebdon. OK he doesn't play pretty but to win a ranking event at 41, when was the last time that happened?

I pity poor Jack Lisowski, his probable opponent in the qualifiers, who thought he would be getting an easy match and instead will have to face an Ebdon who gained confidence from this victory.

If it follows the pattern of last year, maybe he'll be in World Final this year ;)

Anonymous said...

Ebdon is fascinating because whatever his ranking or form you would never ever bet against him.

Anonymous said...


Four centuries, that is some heavy duty scoring. It makes you wonder though, if Ebdon can still win tournaments why can't Hendry? I mean Hendry is a better player, and yet since Ebdon beat him in the UK he's gone on to win another couple of rankers whereas Hendry hasn't even reached a final...very strange indeed. All I can assume is that Ebdon is more willing/able to scrap it out, and winning those frames that can go either way makes all the difference.

Anonymous said...


2004. Jimmy won at 41 I believe, a slightly older 41 too so his 21st century record is still intact! Ebdon will probably still be pulling off these shock title wins at 71 though.

Anonymous said...

that'll be an extra days play for the final then :D

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Ebdon is fascinating because whatever his ranking or form you would never ever bet against him.

5:58 PM
actuall, i would. and have, several times.

i bet SM to win the final, but lost, but in the last few years ive bet ebdon to lose more than 10 times. i cant remember losing a bet on him to lose except yesterday final, that ive placed.

i do like him, just his form the last few years has been poor, so ive backed him to lose, a lot...and won £ much more often by him losing