China’s Liang Wenbo holds focus to repel Hong Kong’s Marco Fu Ka-chun in snooker’s UK Championship
China’s Liang Wenbo held his nerve to reach the quarter-finals of snooker’s UK Championship with a thrilling 6-5 win over Hong Kong’s Marco Fu Ka-chun on Friday.
Liang made a blistering start with three successive century breaks in the first three frames.
The 28-year-old’s second 100 score was secured even though he was distracted by a butterfly fluttering around the table at York’s Barbican Centre.
Liang, the world number 29, reached 49 in the fourth frame before finally allowing Fu a chance which he took with 64.
They shared the first two frames after the interval but Liang made 67 to move within one frame of victory and was on a run of 45 in the next before he wobbled the pink.
World number 14 Fu punished him with a 79 and took the next with a 45 after Liang missed another opportunity.
A 49 helped Fu level but Liang clawed himself over the line, as he had against Tom Ford 24 hours earlier.
“I started unbelievably,” Liang said. “Three centuries, first three frames, I don’t know how.
“Fourth frame, I missed an easy pink and my friend Marco cleared up. At 5-2 up I missed the same, an easy pink, and he cleared up. All the match he gave me a lot of pressure.”
Asked if he can go on and win the tournament, Liang said: “Of course. Everybody has got a chance, you need to be ready. I have confidence in myself, I don’t want to talk about it to you”
Meanwhile, Australia’s Neil Robertson saw off John Higgins 6-5 to stay on course for a blockbuster semi-final against Mark Selby.
Robertson squandered a 4-1 lead, but the 33-year-old former world champion recovered to secure a win he described as “an emotional roller coaster”.
Higgins opened up with the 600th century of his career, 119, but Robertson responded in style.
“The way I started the match was absolutely brilliant, to go 4-1 up, but John being the champion he is shut me out the next couple of frames,” Robertson said.
“It was one of those deciders, I went into the pack but didn’t land on a ball very well, I missed a couple, he missed a couple, he knocked in a brilliant long red and lucky for me he’s missed a semi-tricky green in the middle.
“I almost made a meal of it when I had to cut that red in, but I’m very relieved to get through.”
World number one Selby faces Matthew Selt in the evening session for the right to play Robertson in the last four.