Marco Fu admitted he “hasn’t felt like the same player” since his eye surgery two years ago, but he looked back in form as he came from 4-1 down to beat Kyren Wilson 6-5 at the Betway UK Championship.
Hong Kong’s best ever player, Fu has won four ranking titles and was ranked fifth in the world in 2017. He was forced to take a break from the tour after the retinal surgery, and has since struggled for results, tumbling to 56th. Today’s win over ninth seed Wilson is his best of the season so far and his reward is a last-32 meeting with Li Hang.
Wilson knocked in breaks of 101, 62, 61 and 50 in building a 4-1 lead. Fu made 62 and 89 to claw back to 4-3. Frame eight came down to the final black and Fu potted it to a baulk corner, only for the cue ball to drop into the diagonally opposite pocket.
But Fu shrugged off that setback as he dominated frame nine then made a 73 for 5-5. Wilson potted the first red in the decider but missed a tricky black, and his opponent punished him with 74.
“It’s a huge win for me,” said 41-year-old Fu. “I have always had doubts since the eye surgery, I haven’t felt like the same player. Because my ranking has dropped I am always meeting top players in the second round of tournaments. I haven’t felt as if I can beat a top 16 player, when I used to be in the same group as them, and that hurts. My practice game has been good and I feel as if something special could be around the corner.”
Another Whitewash For Rocket
Ronnie O’Sullivan has made it into round three without conceding a frame; he followed up his 6-0 first round win over Ross Bulman by beating China’s Tian Pengfei by the same scoreline.
Seven-time UK Champion O’Sullivan made top breaks of 71 and 106 as he set up a match with Noppon Saengkham.
“I was trying to win as comfortably as I possibly can,” said the defending champion. “It’s not always going to work out like that and you have to assume that the competition will get stronger and just take one match at a time. You have to try and dominate the game as much as you can draw on experience.
“It’s great to be in York it’s a fantastic place this time of year. The tables are playing great and the further you go in the tournament the more enjoyable it gets.”
Stuart Bingham, a semi-finalist in this event three times, made three centuries in a 6-4 win over Martin Gould. Runs of 105, 91, 64, 106 and 122 helped Bingham book his third round place.
Matthew Stevens was hauled back from 5-2 to 5-5 but got the better of a Welsh derby with Ryan Day 6-5. Ian Burns came from 5-3 down to beat Michael Holt 6-5, winning the ninth frame with a run of 100, the tenth with a vital 56 clearance and the decider 79-0.