Ebdon to face Hawkins in Goldfields final
Peter Ebdon will play Barry Hawkins in an all-English final at the Australian Goldfields Open in Bendigo.
Ebdon, winner of the China Open less than four months ago, produced an assured 6-2 victory over Marco Fu to secure his spot in a second ranking final of 2012.
It was a consistent and methodical performance, Ebdon settling on the newly-laid table a lot faster than his Hong Kong-born opponent.
The 2002 World champion did not muster a single break over 50 in storming to a formidable 4-1 lead, with Fu's first frame of the contest coming by the way of a 108 which proved the semi-final's only century.
An unfortunate pot of the final blue whilst searching for a snooker let Fu pull things back to 4-2, but the 41-year-old found his building form to finish the job with knocks of 53 and a final frame 82 to move onto the final.
"I'm really delighted," said Ebdon. "I knew it was going to be a tough match as Fu is a fantastic player and the field in general has been strong in the tournament.
"The table is completely different to play on now it has been re-clothed. Fu was screwing the ball so well and I was making a mess of them. The final is going to be tough. Whoever wins the second semi, the final will be tough as they are at this stage for a reason."
A disappointed Fu said: "Ebdon is playing very well this week and today he dominated.
"He got used to the table a lot quicker than I did and I'm disappointed but credit to Peter. Despite making the century break I never really got going."
In the second semi-final Barry Hawkins defeated close friend Mark Davis 6-4 in a big-hitting battle to earn a spot in his first ranking final.
A 52 break earned Hawkins the opening frame as he tied Davis in knots with snookers, forcing a total of eight fouls out of the world six-reds champion.
Davis was able to grind his way to parity with a pair of short runs, but a golden opportunity to take the lead eluded him courtesy of an unforced error in the third while on a break of 54.
Hawkins stepped in to clear with a dramatic 55 to re-take the lead before extending his advantage with an impressive 91 clearance after another basic Davis miss.
Davis got back on level terms following the mid-session interval courtesy of runs to 98 and 93 before another crucial error allowed Hawkins to hit 49 for a 4-3 lead.
The two continued to trade big runs and critical misses, and after Davis levelled again with a 66 break, Hawkins one-upped his friend a second time with 67 before a confident 74 concluded the contest in some style.
"It feels really good," said a jubilant Hawkins said. "Mark's one of the best players in the world and to win that match is one of the best feelings in the world.
Davis wished Hawkins well afterwards, saying: "He deserved it in the end as he was better when the balls were open, but I didn't play badly and have no regrets.
"I can't remember too many balls missed and we both played well, no doubt about it.
"If I lost to anyone, I'm glad it was Barry but it's painful for me as I hoped to win the tournament.
"Now, I hope he goes on to win it."