Ebdon expects tough opener with Mehta

Bangalore: Former World and British Open champion Peter Ebdon, the 43-year-old Londoner who resides in Hungary, believes that his first round opponent India’s Aditya Mehta has more than an even chance to win their match in the World Snooker Indian Open ranking tournament to be held in New Delhi Oct 14 to 18.

A member of the exclusive group of players who have won the golden double of World Championship and British Open, Ebdon is coming off a break from the professional tour and feels that he is still to get back to the top of his game.

Ebdon, who played in an invitation event in Delhi back in 1992, losing in the semi-finals to eventual winner Steve Davis, was quite modest about his chances against the 27-year old Mehta.

In a press release Saturday, Ebdon said he was quite impressed with Mehta who in August won the gold medal at the World Games in Colombia, and also Pankaj Advani, the other Indian professional in the fray.

“I was really pleased for Aditya when he won gold because he has been a great ambassador for Indian snooker. I have practised with him in the past and I know how talented a player he is.

“I think he will start favourite in our match in Delhi and it will be a nice start for him if he can give a former world champion a battering in front of his home crowd”, said 2002 World champion Ebdon.

On his current form, Ebdon opined that while he was excited to be playing in India he was working hard to regain his form that saw him win the 2012 China Open where he defeated a bunch of top ranked players en route to the title.

“It’s exciting for snooker to have a ranking event in India for the first time. I have got a lot of work to do on my game and, at the moment, any match I win is a bonus.

“I took some time off at the start of the season to spend a month with my kids and then some more time on holiday in Europe with my wife. I missed a couple of the European Tour events and I am still getting my game back.

“The calendar is so full now that it’s important to take a break at some point and hopefully, I can come on strong now for the big tournaments. I’m not happy being ranked in the low 20s. I want to be in the top 16 and I still consider myself a potential tournament winner,” said Ebdon.

Ebdon also had a word of praise for the other top Indian in the fray, 27-year old Pankaj Advani, the multiple world billiards champion who has been making waves on the professional snooker circuit.

“Pankaj Advani has also been a great addition to our tour. He is a really nice lad and I know how good he is because he has beaten me a couple of times. His success in the billiards world is phenomenal and the way he has adjusted to snooker and shown so much tactical awareness is remarkable,” said Ebdon.

In all, 64 professional players will be bidding for the title and the high quality field includes the likes of World No.1 Neil Robertson, John Higgins, Mark Selby and Chinese ace Ding Junhui.