O'Sullivan sweeps aside Ebdon
Ronnie O'Sullivan was a cut above Peter Ebdon as he raced through to the second round of the World Championship.
Sporting a new tapered haircut, having visited the barbers since building a 7-2 lead on Monday, O'Sullivan avoided the fate which befell him in 2005 against the same opponent, when Ebdon came from 8-2 behind to win their quarter-final 13-11.
This time O'Sullivan wrapped up a 10-4 victory to set up a clash with Mark Williams or Liu Chuang in the last 16.
Despite winning the China Open at the start of the month, 41-year-old Ebdon barely troubled O'Sullivan at any stage as he suffered a fourth successive first-round exit at the Crucible.
Since their famous match in Sheffield seven years ago, O'Sullivan has now won five consecutive meetings with the 2002 world champion.
Today O'Sullivan powered in breaks of 80 and 68 to seal his comfortable success.
O'Sullivan was pleased to be through his first test, saying: "I knew it was going to be tough and I expected a tough game. That's what you get with Peter.
"You just have to be solid. I tried to take my chances and even if I missed a few balls I didn't get down on myself.
"I was just hoping that the next time I got to the table I was able to do something and get some points on the board."
Downbeat in his press conference, and certainly not drumming up his prospects of winning a fourth world title, O'Sullivan added: "It's each match at a time really, there's no point getting carried away.
"I've had a decent season, but it would be nice to win a few matches here. I'm not going to get carried away though.
"Even though I've not been playing great I've not been beating myself up too much if things aren't going right for me.
"I've been working on that side of my game for the last year or so and that's important. I'm definitely much better mentally. My game's not brilliant, but at least my mind is allowing me to give 110 per cent and get what I can out of matches, so I'm pleased with that side of things.
"Whatever happens now is a bonus for me. If I win, then great, but if I don't it's not the be-all and end-all. I'll just enjoy this one."
Ebdon broke down in tears during his press conference as he spoke about his father Michael, who died last year.
Although he lost again in Sheffield, Ebdon ranks second only to Stephen Hendry in terms of the number of consecutive appearances made by any player at the Crucible.
This was his 21st appearance, having made his debut in 1992, and Ebdon said O'Sullivan would need to play better in future rounds to stand hope of winning the title.
"Ultimately I don't think Ronnie has really had to play that well to beat me," Ebdon said.
"I think certainly he's going to have to improve a lot in his next match."
Ebdon's tears came unprompted as he discussed his life, in which he has adopted a vegan diet recently.
"I'm really settled in my life and things are going forward. I've had a really tough time and especially after my dad passed away last year," he said, his voice breaking.
"I miss my dad so much. And I know he would have been so proud of me that I've achieved 21 consecutive years at the Crucible. I set that goal a long time ago, and I know he would have been so proud of me, and I'm so gutted he's not here.
"After my dad passed away last year, I didn't know that I would want to play again.
"I just know that he would have been so proud of me winning in China, for the first time in three years. I was just absolutely broken-hearted last year, and I gave it everything I had in China. I honestly believe, and I know, that he's with me."