Marco Fu swept aside by defending champion Mark Selby in world last eight
Hong Kong star unable to get into his rhythm as Englishman shows his devastating form to storm into the semis, where he will meet Ding Junhui, who stunned O’Sullivan
Hong Kong ace Marco Fu Ka-chun’s fairy tale at the world championship is over after he suffered a 13-3 rout at the hands of defending champion Mark Selby in Wednesday’s quarter-finals at the Crucible.
Two-time world semi-finalist Fu had shown glimpses of brilliance by reaching the last eight of snooker’s biggest tournament after fightbacks against Australia’s Neil Robertson in the second round and Belgian Luca Brecel in his opening-round match.
But there was no comeback this time for the 39-year-old as Selby cruised into the semi-finals in Sheffield with the minimum of fuss, earning the tournament’s highest break so far with a superb 143 in the 13th frame that confirmed his status as tournament favourite.
His efforts surpassed Stuart Bingham’s 137, set earlier in the event, and leave Selby in line for the £10,000 (HK$99,000) top-break prize.
“From start to finish there were only one or two balls I missed that I should have got,” Selby told the BBC.
“I was confident and focused and I think it showed. I didn’t really give much of a chance. If you do finish with a session to spare it’s great to have that extra rest.”
Selby will now face either five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan or Chinese fourth seed Ding Junhui.
“Marco’s a great guy and a great player,” Selby said.
“After one of the frames, when I’d made an 80 or a 100 break, he looked at me and said, ‘Ah, you’re struggling with your game, are you?’ It was nice of him to say that.”
Fu said: “It was very tough. Mark was at his best. Everything was top-class. You can’t really do anything but admire him.”
Selby was joined in the last four by China’s Ding, who stunned five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan after the often controversial Englishman spurned a shot at a 147 break during a 13-10 quarter-final loss.
O’Sullivan looked to be on course for a maximum break after potting 12 reds and blacks, but then opted to pot the pink over the black before clearing the table for a 146.
It took him to 11-9 down, but fourth seed Ding held firm, finishing off with a cool 117 to set up a repeat of last year’s final against Mark Selby.
“I just play the balls as I see them,” said O’Sullivan, who embraced Ding at the end of the contest.
“There is no plan. I was playing for the black, but I just didn’t get on it.”
Asked about the financial rewards on offer for a 147, O’Sullivan said: “I’m just having a bit of fun. Let’s not go down that route. Let’s just enjoy the match and wish Ding the very best.”
Former world champion John Higgins had little difficulty reaching the last four. The Scot, 41, converted an overnight 11-5 lead into a 13-6 victory over Kyren Wilson to reach the semi-finals for the first time since winning the last of his four world titles in 2011.
He will now face either Barry Hawkins or Stephen Maguire for a place in the final.
“In the couple of years after what happened in 2011, I’ve been losing and my form wasn’t great, and you think you won’t get back to the one-table set-up,” Higgins said, referring to having reached the quarter-finals.
“It’s the best place in the world to get out and play. I can’t wait to walk back into the arena and it’s just the one table again. I’m buzzing.”
Until the quarters, the arena is divided by a partition with two matches going on simultaneously, whereas from the last eight onwards, there is only one match – and thus one table – taking place in the centre of the arena.
Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse