Fu confident he'll join world elite

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 March, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong's Marco Fu is on course to end the season as world number three, a feat achieved by only one other Asian - Thailand's James Wattana in the 1994-95 season.

Fu, 31, is currently ranked fifth and has two tournaments left to play to lift himself into third spot, a task he believes is well within his capabilities.

'I've certainly got a chance of becoming the world number three if I do well at the two tournaments I have left, including the world championship [April 18-May 4],' said Fu, who is in Hong Kong to prepare for the China Open in Beijing later this month.

'I have had a very consistent season and if I can reach the semi-finals in both remaining events, I may be able to move up to third, especially as the world championship carries double ranking points. Of course, I have to hope that the players above me slip up also,' he added.

Following last month's Welsh Open, Fu has 32,850 ranking points, 3,975 behind Ali Carter and 3,825 behind Shaun Murphy. Ronnie O'Sullivan (47,275) and Stephen Maguire (42,350) are the top two players in the world.

With 5,000 points up for grabs at the China Open and double that for winning the world title, Fu needs to reach at least the semi-finals of both events to overtake Carter and Murphy.

'But if I slip up in the last two tournaments, the players behind me can overtake me because they are only a few hundred points in arrears,' Fu added.

Playing in his 11th year as a professional, Fu admitted he only set his sights on reaching the top eight at the beginning of the season.

'I was ranked outside the top 30 two seasons ago and so finishing in the top eight would not be a bad result. In fact, I'd settle for that this season if I wasn't so close to the guys in front of me,' said Fu, who finished last season ranked 14th.

'But I also want to say that ranking does not mean everything. Sometimes you play very well, but if you are unlucky then your ranking will suffer.'

Fu, who has won some ?1 million (HK$10.9 million) since turning professional, is keen to end the season with at least one title. His best finish this season was as runner-up to Murphy in December's UK championship, Fu lost 10-9 in a thrilling final.

'The China Open is my best chance for a title, but the draw has not been particularly kind,' said Fu. 'Even if I get past Tian Pengfei of China in the opening stage, I will likely face John Higgins in the second round and that would be a very tough match.'

The Scot beat Fu 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the Wembley Masters in London in January.

World beater
Hong Kong's Marco Fu is desperate to end the season on a high by bagging a spot in the top: 3