Peter Ebdon admitted he would have been “a broken man” had he failed to reach his third Crucible final after revealing his four children were flying over from Dubai for the conclusion of the 888.com World Championship.
Ebdon threw away a 15-9 overnight against Marco Fu and the pair were locked on 16-16 before the 2002 champion squeezed home with the aid of a 54 break in the 33rd-and-final frame.
The 35-year-old has had a poor season, failing to reach a single quarter-final in a ranking event, but he has again reserved his best form for snooker’s most important tournament.
Ebdon said: “I was hating the fact I would have to explain to (wife) Deborah I had lost from 15-9 down. She would have killed me. That would have broken my heart.
“As well, my four children are flying over from Dubai so you could have imagined what it would have meant had I been beaten in the semi-final.
“I’ve not seen the children for six weeks so it would have been brilliant to see them but I think I would have been a broken man had I gone under.
“But this means so much to me. I worked harder for this tournament than any tournament in my career. My fitness is good, I’m very strong. I’ve worked so hard on the table.”
Ebdon added: “You can take my form in the best-of-nine frames we play in tournaments with a pinch of salt. It has been a really tough season because we’ve not had a lot of match practice.
“I showed signs of that in my first couple of matches here. It’s been a tough season for all the players.
“But, coming into the World Championship, having a bit of experience in the tournament, I didn’t necessarily think the in-form players would necessarily be favourites in this event.
“It is an event in itself and I always try to get myself spot on for it and perhaps the players in form are under a bit more pressure and there is a bit more expectancy.
“I knew that I would have a very good chance this year if I got myself spot on despite not having a lot of match practice. I have got stronger with every match.”
Ebdon praised Fu for his splendid recovery which almost earned him a place in the final.
He said: “I don’t know how Marco is feeling now but all credit to him. It was an incredible performance.
“He showed incredible strength of character under the most extreme circumstances and in adversity he was truly magnificent and I take my hat off to him. It was a brilliant performance.
“He held himself together and under pressure he played his best snooker of the match. I can’t praise him enough. His performance was absolutely awesome.”
Fu, who had won only three matches this season before coming to Sheffield, said: “I went out very relaxed because I knew I had to win 8-1 in the session against Peter which was a tall order especially the way he was playing on Friday.
“It was virtually impossible but I won a scrappy first frame, things went my way, I was making breaks and Peter was under a bit of pressure after that but I really enjoyed it.
“The way I played today was the way I always wanted to play and I’ve done it in the semi-final of the World Championships.
“I think I have lost to the winner of the tournament. He made a great clearance under pressure to clinch his place in the final. I’m not sure how many players could have done that.”