Fu reaches final after nine years in wilderness
It has been nine long years, but Hong Kong's Marco Fu Ka-chun is at long last back in the final of a ranking tournament.
Fu was to meet Ronnie O'Sullivan overnight in the final of the Royal London Watches Grand Prix in Aberdeen, Scotland, after battling to a narrow win over Gerard Greene in a semi-final that lasted four hours.
Fu, the world number 27, edged out Englishman Greene 6-5 in a gripping match. This is Fu's first ranking final since 1998, and the Hong Kong ace was over the moon with the semi-final victory.
'I'm very happy to be in the final. It was a real struggle to get over the line,' said Fu. 'I have endured a frustrating time as nine years is a long time to get to a final. I struggled, but I'm happy.'
Fu trailed Greene 4-3 before levelling the score. He then took the next frame before his opponent came back, snatching the 10th frame on the black.
Fu, who has struggled to keep his composure in close situations in the past, managed to stay cool this time to eke out a victory.
'I wasn't nervous, but I was very tired towards the end of the match. I feel terrible after that match, I didn't play well,' Fu told BBC radio afterwards. He made only two significant breaks - of 73 and 106.
'I've been to semi-finals since then , but that doesn't mean anything. Mentally I've not been strong enough, but hopefully I can put that right in the final,' Fu added.
Fu, 29, reached the only final in his professional career at the 1998 Grand Prix. It was the year he turned professional. He defeated O'Sullivan and Peter Ebdon on his way to the final, where he lost to an in-form Stephen Lee.
The Hong Kong ace will have his work cut out trying to stop two-time world champion O'Sullivan (2001 and 2004). But significantly for Fu, one of his most memorable performances was against O'Sullivan at the 1998 tournament - the one where he reached the final.
If he can re-discover that form again, Fu is in line to win his first ranking tournament.