Shaun Murphy became the latest big name to be knocked out of the Betway UK Championship as Marco Fu beat him 6-4 in York on Wednesday night.
Murphy’s defeat means that nine of the top 12 seeds are gone before the quarter-final stage with Fu – at 13th – the highest seed in the top half of the draw. Hong Kong’s finest takes on Liang Wenbo or Tom Ford on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.
Tonight’s match was a repeat of the 2008 final, which Murphy won 10-9, but this time it was 37-year-old Fu who came out on top. He won the opening frame with a break of 93 then Murphy levelled with an 80 and dominated the third to lead 2-1, before Fu hit back with a run of 104.
The big breaks continued after the interval as Murphy made an 83 then Fu responded with 50 and 68 to lead 4-3. Murphy led 34-0 in frame eight but his opponent eventually won it with three scoring visits. A scrappy ninth frame went Murphy’s way to leave him 5-4 down.
Two-time ranking event winner Fu made 50 in the tenth before missing a red with the rest. Murphy might have cleared but failed on a tough penultimate red along the top cushion. Fu then won a safety battle on the last red and added the points he needed for victory.
“Early on in the match we both took our chances well,” said Fu. “When I got to 5-3 I saw the winning line and got a bit edgy, I felt like I needed Shaun to miss to give me a chance. I beat him here last year in the last 16 but then got carried away and lost my next match. This time I want to push on.”
Selt has never got to the semi-finals of a full ranking event
He is joined in the next round by Matthew Selt, who reached the UK quarter-finals for the first time with a 6-4 win over Luca Brecel. Romford’s Selt is one of the most improved players on the circuit over the past two years, having climbed to 25th in the world, and he is now sure of £20,000 which is his biggest pay-day.He faces Mark Selby next.
A run of 72 gave Selt the first frame, then Belgium’s Brecel took three in a row with top breaks of 81 and 86. Selt hit back strongly to win the next four with a top run of 52.
He might have finished the match in frame nine but was unlucky to knock the yellow in after potting the last red when 22 points ahead. After safety exchanges, Brecel cleared from brown to black to pull one back. And Welsh Open semi-finalist Brecel could have made it 5-5 but missed the last yellow in frame ten and went in-off, allowing Selt to close out victory.
“I was solid tonight, much better than my last three matches,” said 30-year-old Selt. “Luca can do things that a lot of players can’t but my safety was far superior to his and I felt I could dictate the game using safety to create chances. I felt really calm, even at 3-1 down.
“It’s my first win in a televised BBC match which is a step forward. Last year in this round I lost 6-0 to Ronnie O’Sullivan and I was like a rabbit in the headlights. But I learned from it and I’m a far stronger player now. I’m relishing the challenge of playing Selby.”