Marco Fu on fire in World Championship opener as holder Bingham suffers ‘Curse of the Crucible’
Hong Kong star hammers former world champion Peter Ebdon 10-2
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu Ka-chun knocked Peter Ebdon out of this year’s World Championship with a crushing 10-2 win on Saturday as reigning champion Stuart Bingham suffered the “curse of the Crucible” in a first-round defeat by Ali Carter.
Ebdon, world champion in 2002, was largely powerless as Fu made short work of victory at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, northern England.
Fu, a former semi-finalist, surged into a 6-2 lead over the Englishman during the first session thanks to breaks of 81, 111, 138, 84 and 50 before two contributions of 71 after the match resumed sealed a comfortable win.
“I didn’t really expect to win 10-2 against Peter,” Fu said.
“I’m playing much better this year than in previous years. I think there are at least 12 players who can win this tournament and I believe I’m one of them.”
An impressed Ebdon added: “It’s one of the best performances anyone’s ever put up against me at the Crucible.
“You have to think that if he could continue to play like that for the next two weeks he’ll have every chance of winning the World Championship.”
Meanwhile the first day of the tournament saw Bingham succumb to “the curse of the Crucible” in a 10-9 defeat by fellow Englishman Ali Carter, twice a losing finalist.
Since the event moved to the Crucible in 1977, no first-time world champion – as Bingham was last year – has returned 12 months later to retain the title.
Bingham battled hard to avoid becoming part of that statistic, coming from 8-5 down to win four frames in a row to lead 9-8 and going ahead with a break of 113.
Faced with defeat, Carter – who has twice come through bouts of cancer in recent years – responded with a break of 102 to set up a final-frame decider.
Bingham had chances to win frame and match, but two missed pinks and a tough final red proved costly.
Carter, by contrast, cut the red in and the produced a brilliant pot to sink the yellow as he completed a memorable victory.
“I’m gutted to be going back home,” said Bingham.
“I battled to 9-8 and missed a couple of chances to wrap the game up. Fair play to Ali. It just wasn’t meant to be for me.
“It was a tough draw and I just came up short. I hope he goes on to win it now.”
A delighted Carter said: “Stuart had everything to lose and nothing to gain.
“I felt he was a good draw for anyone – not because of the standard of player he is because he was the world champion.
“But he hasn’t had the best of seasons and coming here with everyone talking about the Crucible curse, it’s set up for him to go wrong.”
Both Bingham and Carter hail from Essex, east of London, and Carter said he was keen to join the county’s list of snooker world champions.
“He ingham) has been a deserved world champion and hopefully now I can bring another title back to Essex. I think the ‘Rocket’ [Ronnie O’Sullivan] and the ‘Nugget’ [Steve Davis] have nicked most of them and it’s my turn to nick one I think.”