Snooker: Ebdon's skills ebb away

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The Independent Online
Peter Ebdon found it impossible to combat Nigel Bond in the Benson and Hedges Masters at Wembley Conference Centre yesterday.

The world No 5, who has been in bed for almost a week with flu, lost 6-2 as Bond set up a quarter-final against Stephen Lee or the six-times Masters champion Stephen Hendry.

Bond swiftly established a 2-0 advantage with breaks of 72 and 112 before Ebdon fought back to level at 2-2. Ebdon won the third frame on the blue and the fourth with an 80 clearance after Bond had missed a straightforward black off its spot when up 45-0. But when play resumed following the interval Ebdon faded badly.

Ebdon, who has not win a tournament since beating Bond in the final of the Thailand Open last March, became increasingly frustrated. In a bizarre end to frame seven, Ebdon was trailing 52-1, but with five reds and therefore 67 points left on the table, he missed an elementary black to a middle pocket.

Ebdon could not disguise his disgust and conceded the frame - even though Bond needed to pot three more balls to leave him requiring snookers. In the eighth frame, Ebdon, who had aggregated only 12 points in the previous three, missed four open pots to complete a depressing performance.