Ebdon recovers to hand Hendry rare defeat : SNOOKER

SNOOKER

Peter Ebdon staged a magnificent recovery at Wembley Conference Centre last night to defeat Stephen Hendry 5-4 in the quarter-finals of the Benson and Hedges Masters.

The Londoner fought back from 4-2 down to inflict only Hendry's second defeat in 26 games in the Masters. "Considering the circumstances, pressure, tension and occasion I am delighted," Ebdon, the world No 10, said.

Both Ebdon and Hendry, seeking to win the tournament for the sixth time in seven years, made poor starts. Ebdon, who beat the Scot on his way to the 1993 Skoda Grand Prix title, took the fifth frame with a 67 break. But a 141 clearance gave Hendry the sixth frame, a chance of the £10,000 bonus for the tournament's highest break and a 4-2 lead that put him on the verge of a semi-final against Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Ebdon, the former world junior champion, dominated the next two frames with runs of 46 and 47 to make a sudden death deciding frame necessary. Once again Hendry looked the more likely winner when he established a 37-1 lead but, on a break of 36, overcut a red to a top pocket to throw Ebdon a lifeline. Ebdon replied with a 53 break but looked to have missed his chance when he failed to pot an extremely difficult last red across the top cushion. Hendry potted the red and a black but, with tension at fever pitch, missed a yellow with the rest. It was his last mistake.

Terry Griffiths found time to laugh despite taking a 5-2 beating from O'Sullivan. The Welshman was trailing 4-2 when O'Sullivan put together a break that put him in command of the seventh frame, and someone in the crowd shouted "taxi for Terry Griffiths". "By that time I'd well and truly lost and I thought it was amusing," Griffiths said.

Benson and Hedges Masters (Wembley): Quarter-finals: R O'Sullivan (Eng) bt T Griffiths (Wal) 5-2; P Ebdon (Eng) bt S Hendry (Sco) 5-4.

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