Stephen Lee set up one of the most fascinating clashes of the Embassy World Championship second round when he completed a 10-5 victory over Malta’s Tony Drago in Sheffield today.
The ninth seed, who has experienced an ordinary season, will have the chance to avenge his notorious 2001 Crucible Theatre defeat against Peter Ebdon when the duo meet on Sunday.
At the same stage of the tournament four years ago their match went to a deciding frame and when Ebdon sunk the winning ball he infuriated Lee with his celebration, shouting and punching the air.
Lee gained a degree of revenge with a 9-8 victory at the Travis Perkins UK Championship last December but knows this is his opportunity to finally lay the ghosts of a contest he is not allowed to forget.
“I’m looking forward to it. I don’t think Peter has beaten me since,” said the 30-year-old from Wiltshire, who looked in good form as he knocked in three century breaks against Drago.
“Peter apologised afterwards for the incident and there is no problem between us now. I think he was just very wound up during that match.
“It wasn’t the only time he has done something like that. The problem was that I could understand a bit of a celebration at winning such a close match but not to that extent.
“I had all that summer to think about it and everyone kept mentioning it to me. It’s not good losing 13-12 to anyone.”
Even though he has not set the world alight during the current campaign, Lee feels he may be peaking at the right time.
“I feel quite good this week and it was nice to get a few tons in my first match,” said the winner of three career ranking events.
“I thought it would be much quicker against Tony but we got stuck in a few safety battles. I’m hitting the ball well though and scoring all right.”
On the other table the second round got under way as Stephen Hendry, quickly back in action after yesterday’s win over Neil Robertson, made a flying start against Anthony Hamilton.
The Scot, seven times a world champion, led 6-2 to raise the possibility of completing victory tomorrow morning with a session to spare.