Sorry Hong Kong – Neil Robertson ends local star Marco Fu’s run at the Hong Kong Masters

Australian former world champion apologises to fans after knocking out the crowd favourite while O’Sullivan edges Trump in other semi-final

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 July, 2017, 6:54pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 12:12am

Australia’s former world champion Neil Robertson defeated home star Marco Fu Ka-chun in the Hong Kong Masters – and then apologised to the crowd for ending the local hero’s run in the tournament on Saturday.

“Rocket” Ronnie O’Sullivan edged fellow Englishman Judd Trump 6-5 in the other semi-final.

Roberton and Fu have played on numerous occasions with the Hong Kong star beating the 2010 world champion in the Australian’s home turf in the final of the Australian Goldfields Open in 2013. The 39-year-old Hong Kong star also beat Robertson at the last-16 stage of April’s world championship.

But it was Robertson who would play spoilsport this time after the 35-year-old left-hander from Melbourne recorded a 6-4 victory in the best-of-11 semi-final at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium.

Fans were understandably disappointed that their world No 5 player will play no further part in the tournament and Robertson tried to console the crowd.

Asked how he manages to regain his composure after each match, the Australian apologised first.

“First of all, sorry everybody for ruining your day,” he said to fits of laughter.

“We both started off a little bit slow but overall I thought the match was played to a very good standard and great spirit so I am very happy to beat one of the world’s best players, Marco Fu, in front of his home crowd. I can’t wait [to play] in the final.”

Robertson said he changed his strategy since losing to Fu at the Crucible Theatre in April and his new game seems to be paying off.

“The match against Marco [at this year’s world championship], we wanted to win so badly, dragging each other down but I thought the match, I was really disappointed with my application. I want to be a very aggressive player and score a lot of big breaks. That’s been the focus for the start of this season, to play aggressive and back myself to pot the long balls and score heavy. Today, we saw a lot of that come into play, which is fantastic.”

Hong Kong snooker star Marco Fu turns it around after 15-minute interval

Robertson will play either five-time world champion Ronnie “The Rocket” O’Sullivan or Judd Trump, of England, in Sunday’s final, but the Australian said he had no preference who he wanted to play and would be relaxed before the match.

“I’ll just do what I have been doing all week really. Hong Kong is a fantastic place to chill out in between matches so I will be doing that. Either way, obviously, it’s going to be a great match against either Judd [Trump] or Ronnie [O’Sullivan] so I have to play the way I did today and we’ll see what happens.”

Fu trailed Barry Hawkins in Thursday’s quarter-final 3-1 but managed to score a 5-3 victory. This time, the Hong Kong star had the early breaks to race into a 3-1 lead against Robertson. But he couldn’t sustain the challenge as Robertson, playing solidly, levelled the match 3-3 and never really looked back.

Robertson led 4-3 in frames after a brilliant century break of 100 to win that frame 100-0. He then took it a step further by leading 5-3 before Fu pulled back with a 70 break to make it 5-4.

But the lefty, the world No 7, was in unbeatable form in the tenth frame, compiling a break of 82 to seal the frame 86-6 and complete a 6-4 victory.

Here’s why snooker star Marco Fu is Hong Kong’s most famous athlete ever

Fu wasn’t overly disappointed with the result, saying he had played a high standard of snooker and that beating players in front of their home crowd was part and parcel of the game.

“”I beat him in front of his home crowd at the Australian Open so it’s something quite normal. Neil [Robertson] played well but I am happy with the way I played.

“I was very happy with the way I was playing before the [15 minute] interval,” said Fu. “But after the interval, I played OK but Neil put me under pressure. His safety was immaculate. He just put me under pressure all the time with his safeties and he won two very crucial frames. He won in the colours in both frames and I think that was the difference.”