Peter Ebdon is bidding to hit ten career ranking event crowns after making it to the final of the Australian Goldfields Open by beating Marco Fu 6-2 in Bendigo.


By Matt Rich


On a fast, re-clothed table, neither player made regular high breaks, the 2002 World Champion was two frames to the good before the Hong Kong national made a century break of 108 to get himself off the mark. Ebdon's pattern of controlled potting twinned with excellent safety play seemed to stifle his opponent as he extended his lead to 4-1.


Fu fought back in front of a mesmerised packed house taking a tense sixth frame in 40 minutes. But the veteran Ebdon, who has shown some great form this week already sending home Michael Holt, Ding Junhui and Shaun Murphy, wrapped up the match helped by a 53 in the seventh and finishing with an expert 82.


He will face whoever prevails from the other semi, Mark Davis or Barry Hawkins. Neither player has reached a ranking final before.


"Obviously there are no easy games and Marco is a world-class player," said Ebdon, who won his ninth world ranking title at the China Open in April. "He probably played as well as anybody in the tournament prior to today and, to be perfectly honest, I think he struggled to get used to the new cloth, the speed of the cloth. Obviously it was re- clothed yesterday and it was a new table for both of us in effect. It played like a completely new table, the balls were lighter and it was a pleasure to play on, but it found us out at various times.


"Marco was cueing the ball and timing the ball so well that he was over-screwing a lot of things and it took him time to adjust. But the table was beautiful and I played really solid today and I'm really happy with that performance. I knew that I had to put in a good performance today and to beat somebody as good as Marco 6-2 in a semi-final, I've got to be thrilled to bits with that.


"I'm delighted to be in the final, whether I play Barry Hawkins or Mark Davis, it's going to be a tough match because they are both in the semi-final by rights and it's going to be a tough game. It's not easy to win ranking events, but I'm in the final again and I'll be trying for my life."


Fu said afterwards: "The result today was a bit disappointing, I think I played quite well. Looking at the stats my pot success was over 90 per cent and my long potting was at 80 per cent and my safety was over 80 per cent as well. So I think that, apart from playing Joe Perry in the first round, this was probably the best I'd played this week. But sometimes when you're playing well it doesn't mean I can convert it into a victory.


"Peter played really well, he dominated in the safety department and his long-potting was really good. Sometimes I didn't do that much wrong to lose a frame because Peter earned his own chances by making a good safety play or by potting a long ball to get into the balls and he scored quite well today so I think he deserved to win.


"My target for the season has definitely got to be getting back into the top 16 in the rankings and I'm still quite a way behind. But getting to the semis will definitely help but I need a really solid performance to get back into the top 16 by the end of the World Championship next year. That's got to be my target, but it's going to be very difficult."