New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) Aditya Mehta pulled off one of the biggest wins of his professional career by ousting 2002 World champion Peter Ebdon 4-3 in a nail-biting first round match of the Indian Open World Snooker ranking tournament here Monday.
Mehta, the 27-year old from Mumbai, kept his nerve after blowing a 2-0 and 3-1 lead and enjoying a 40-point advantage in the fifth, while Ebdon, ranked 22nd, leveled at 3-3.
However, Mehta, who had beaten No.8 Ricky Walden a fortnight ago in a qualifying event, took the seventh for the match with a brilliant 127, his second century of the day following the 122 in the fourth frame.
Mehta, playing a solid game marked by precision potting and astute safety play, had the 43-year old London-born, Budapest resident Ebdon, who has not been in best of form this season, on the ropes jumping to a 2-0 lead and then moving to 3-1 on the back of the 122 break.
It took all of Ebdon's vast experience to claw his way back into the match even as Mehta turned error-prone, losing frames when in front as the Englishman caught up at 3-3.
In the seventh, Mehta pounced on an early opening when Ebdon went in-off on his very first visit, to post a marvelous break of 127 clearance, the highest of the tournament so far.
Mehta's win somewhat made up for the exit of five Indian Wild Card qualifiers earlier in the day as Manan Chandra, Shivam Arora, Faisal Khan, Sandeep Gulati and Kamal Chawla, lost their Wild Card rounds while the sixth Indian qualifier, Dharmender Lilly progressed to the main draw after receiving a walk-over from Liam Highfield.
Looking back on his match that lasted 3-1/2 hours, Mehta said: "It was difficult, but I could have won 4-2, but my safety play was good and that helped me through the scrappy three frames in the beginning.
"Yes, it was one of my biggest wins. It was not as if I beat Ebdon on a bad day. It was a tactical match and he showed his experience to come back from 0-2 and 1-3.
"I have been through such situations in the past, losing matches when in front. Tonight, I made it difficult for myself. But this win is certainly one of my biggest as Peter is a great player, a former World champion."
Mehta thus joined the list of century-makers on the first day of the tournament as earlier, World No.1 Neil Robertson posted three identical breaks of 103 en route to a 4-1 win over Thailand's Noppon Saengkham in a first round match while Mark Joyce crafted a 114 while defeating fellow-Englishman Sean O'Sullivan 4-0.
Meanwhile, Thailand's World No.61 Dechawat Poomjaeng eliminated higher-ranked Ryan Day from England, 4-2 for the first upset of the tournament. Day, ranked 24, after climbing from 0-2 to 2-2, lost the next two frames with the Thai notching breaks of 52 and 58 in the fifth and sixth.
Robertson, the 31-year old from Melbourne, treated the large crowd to some top-class snooker with his century breaks that underlined his current form as he took to the conditions like duck to water. Cueing smoothly and striking with deft touch, Robertson, the 2010 World champion, gave wonderful exhibition in break building.
"Yeah, it is nice to start with three century breaks. Coming to India for the first time, I never knew what to expect, but the table conditions, the practice tables and the venue are just perfect.
"I have been consistent over the last 12 months and I am playing well at the moment," said Robertson who gave up cricket to focus on snooker and is a huge fan of Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar.
Main Draw (First round): Aditya Mehta (IND) bt Peter Ebdon (ENG) 4-3 (66-48, 69-51, 08-91, 122-01, 32-81, 73-85, 131-00); Ricky Walden (ENG) bt Gerard Greene (ENG) 4-0 (69-10, 58-31, 73-45, 83-16); Michael Holt (ENG) bt Jamie Cope (ENG) 4-1 (68-51, 34-73, 71-51, 82-2, 56-55); Zhang Anda (CHN) bt Alan McManus (SCO) 4-1 (61-34, 69-0, 0-65, 70-19, 59-54); Joe Perry (ENG) w/o David Gilbert (ENG); Rod Lawler (ENG) w/o Allister Carter (ENG); Neil Robertson (AUS) bt Noppon Saengkham (THA) 4-1 (107-0, 104-14, 54-55, 122-1, 124-1); Mark Joyce (ENG) bt Sean O'Sullivan (ENG) 4-0 (71-44, 109-21, 92-21, 123-0); Dechawat Poomjaeng (THA) bt Ryan Day (ENG) 4-2 (108-06, 78-15, 10-73, 0-79, 90-0, 75-06).
Wild Card round: Rod Lawler (ENG) bt Kamal Chawla (IND) 4-1 (58-51, 79-36, 54-71, 70-40, 70-31); Jeff Cundy (ENG) bt Sandeep Gulati (IND) 4-0 (78-14, 62-57, 85-0, 89-1); Anthony McGill (SCO) bt Shivam Arora (IND) 4-3 (58-57, 78-38, 45-85, 53-67, 77-14, 24-75, 81-6); Robbie Williams (ENG) bt Manan Chandra (IND) 4-1 (69-56, 77-31, 70-1, 32-107; 65-40); Paul Davison (ENG) bt Faisal Khan (IND) 4-1 (55-34, 38-72, 81-49, 61-16, 68-5); Dharmender Lilly (IND) w/o Liam Highfield (ENG).