Cazoo UK Championships: Hong Kong’s Marco Fu shows flashes of old as he advances to second round of qualifying
- Fu rattles off three consecutive century breaks in win over China’s Bai Langning
- Hong Kong’s Andy Lee, meanwhile, sets up qualifying match against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu Ka-chun fired three consecutive century breaks as he came from behind to beat Bai Langning in the first round of qualifying for the Cazoo UK Championships on Sunday.
The 44-year-old found himself in a hole early in Sheffield, going two frames down to his Chinese opponent, before rattling off scores of 108, 124 and 106 to eventually win in eight frames, to set up a clash with Britain’s Oliver Lines, the world No 58.
Fu, who was once ranked fifth in the world, was granted a two-year World Snooker Tour card last year, but it took until the World Championships qualifiers in April before he returned to the competition after a two-year absence because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But he has struggled on his return to the top level, and it wasn’t until the Hong Kong Masters that he regained some of that form, upsetting the likes of Mark Selby and John Higgins, before making a maximum 147 in his 6-4 final defeat at the hands of Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“I’m a little happy with today’s performance, but I have to practise again, so I’ll just be happy for a little while,” Fu wrote on his social media page.
The three-time ranking tournament winner said he intended to approach upcoming competitions with the same mindset he used at the Masters.
“I didn’t have any goals for the Masters,” he said. “I just wanted to play my best and enjoy the journey, and it turned out that the effect of this mindset works.
“I was at a low level [after two years away from international competitions], and every time I faced tough opponents, my mind told me that I had no chance of winning. But now, my confidence has returned, and I hope to show it in the competitions.”
Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Ng On-yee continued her fine form, beating 21-year-old Jenson Kendrick 6-4 in the first round of qualifying. Ng’s bid to reach the first round of the main draw ended soon after, with Matthew Stevens dispatching her 6-0 in the second round.
There was a better performance from Andy Lee Chun-wai, who breezed past women’s world No 4 Rebecca Kenna, and the experienced Mark Davis to set up a meeting with Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham on Monday.