The quarter-finals of the International Championship has left us with a familiar set of faces but not necessarily a line-up many would have predicted.
Peter Ebdon excelled yesterday, winning a solid gold thriller 6-5 against Neil Robertson.
Ebdon is not a fast player but he did not grind. He played super positive snooker and it worked. His pace, though, has an undoubted effect on his opponents. Robertson, as ever, took the positives: “anyone else would have lost 6-3,” he said.
Ebdon now plays Ding Junhui, the man in form, who put Matthew Stevens to the sword 6-1 in their quarter-final. But Ding will be expecting a much tougher challenge from a much harder player.
Every few years Ebdon seems to dig deep into his well of reserves and find something despite having no real form coming into a tournament. He did so at the China Opens of 2009 and 2012. So far in Chengdu this week he has done so again.
I’ve been impressed all week with Marco Fu. He is striking the ball really sweetly, has made a string of big breaks and looks fully confident. He had to wait six years between winning his first and second world ranking titles. Perhaps the wait for title no.3 will not be as long.
Little has been seen of Mark Selby on the TV table but he has made quiet progress through while some of the big beasts were making their exits on the TV tables.
He can’t replace Robertson as world no.1 this week but he can eat into the Australian’s lead at the head of the list.
Joe Perry was 5-1 down to Jamie Jones in the first round but won 6-5 and is now a quarter-finalist. He plays Ryan Day who, like Perry, is one of those players many feel would have won a ranking title by now without quite doing it.
Graeme Dott has come out of the pack relatively unnoticed and now plays Liang Wenbo, who followed up his defeat of Ronnie O’Sullivan with a 6-1 thumping of a well below par Mark Davis.
All eight quarter-finalists have been ranking event finalists and five of them have won ranking titles.