Phil Haigh ✍️
Marco Fu thought his snooker career was at an end thanks to injury and the pandemic, which makes his impressive win over Mark Selby at the Hong Kong Masters all the more special.
Fu beat Selby 5-2 in front of his home crowd at the Hong Kong Coliseum on Thursday, booking a spot in the semi-finals against either Judd Trump or John Higgins in the big-money invitation event.
The victory was another positive sign of Fu returning to somewhere near his best after undergoing eye surgery in 2018, which set his game back, and then staying in Hong Kong during the height of the pandemic which meant he didn’t compete on tour for two years.
Now 44 he still has hopes of competing at the top of the sport and beating the four-time world champion in front of a huge crowd in Hong Kong helps prove that he can.
‘Over the last few years I’ve suffered a lot on the snooker side,’ Fu told WST. ‘After the eye surgery things weren’t the same and I didn’t play any snooker at all during the pandemic.
‘These kind of wins mean a lot to me. It proves I can still do it in front of this many people against one of the best players in the world. I still have it somewhere in myself. It’s an important win for me. Hopefully it gives me a good platform to play even better for the rest of the season.
‘I feared the worst at one point. I thought after the eye surgery that the end of my career was approaching and after Covid it was definitely the end of my career.
‘I can’t believe that I’m back playing again and playing to a decent standard. I’m not saying I’m playing superbly, I’ve had a tough season so far.
‘I played okay today and it is a good start to be able to perform to a decent standard. To beat Mark you have to play to a decent standard and I did today.’
The Hong Kong Coliseum can hold over 12,000 people for certain events and a crowd of around 9,000 is expected for Sunday’s final, which would triple the previous record crowd set for a snooker match.
The arena was not full on Thursday but there was still a big crowd in to watch the local hero and Fu was thrilled to perform for them, and be part of an important event as major sport returns to Hong Kong after the pandemic.
‘It was very very special this afternoon. To a lot of people this is an invitational event, but to me it is more than that,’ he said.
‘Hong Kong’s snooker fans deserve the chance to watch all of the best players coming to play here in a top event.
‘After Covid we have suffered a lot and this is a well-deserved opportunity for them to see a world class event. I’m happy for the snooker fans and with the way I played.
‘Mark is a top player, so no matter where you beat him, you have to give yourself a bit of credit. I’m very happy with the win today.’
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