Worth the long wait as Hong Kong hero Fu bags his first title
The long wait is finally over for Hong Kong's Marco Fu Ka-chun, who beat two-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan to bag his first professional ranking title in his nine-year career.
Fu defeated Englishman O'Sullivan 9-6 in the final of the New Royal London Watches Grand Prix in Aberdeen, Scotland.
It was the first title for Fu since he turned professional in 1998 and earned the Happy Valley resident his biggest pay cheque - HK$1.2 million.
The victory will also see Fu, who is now ranked 27th in the world, moving up to 15th in the latest provisional rankings.
'It hasn't sunk in yet,' Fu (pictured) said. 'There were times when I doubted myself. There was a period of two to three years when I was struggling to get to the last 16 of tournaments, let alone win one.'
Fu's path to glory included a win over reigning world champion and world number one John Higgins in the last 16. Fu scored two century breaks to win that match 5-4.
'It was a match of the highest quality,' said Joseph Lo Tsun-ying, secretary of the Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council. 'Marco knew the match was being televised live in Hong Kong. It is the first time a local station has televised a ranking tournament. And it has brought good fortune to Marco.'
Fu showed tremendous composure to win six out of the last seven frames to engineer a superb comeback victory. He had led 3-1 at the first interval before O'Sullivan fought back to take a 5-3 lead.
'I've been to a lot of quarter- and semi-finals but there's a big step between that and winning a title,' Fu said.
'In the past two years I've felt good because I knew my game was heading in the right direction. I've made a lot of technical changes and there are some departments I'm still not happy with - you can never be 100 per cent in sport so you have to keep working,' added Fu.
The final was decided on an inspired piece of play from Fu in the 14th frame which prevented O'Sullivan from levelling the scores at 7-7. Fu had a difficult line on the last red, but instead of playing a safety, he decided to go for broke and potted it to set up a winning 60 clearance.
'It was the best clearance I have made in my career,' Fu said. 'I've never played better.'