It has been a while coming, but Marco Fu is now a multiple ranking event winner, following his victory today against Neil Robertson in the final of the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open.
Click below for a round-up of the final and a few thoughts on what could be the third and final edition of the Australian Goldfields Open tournament…
Contested between the two most consistent performers of the week, the final of the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open got off to a high quality start, breaks of 98 and 80 from Marco Fu, sandwiching runs of 78 and 92 from Neil Robertson.
From there however it was Fu who was able to take control of the match, taking three of the next four to lead 5-3 at the close of the first session, before the next four were shared to leave the Hong Kong player two frames away from victory.
With the pressure rising however, the ensuing frames were to be real nailbiters, Robertson taking a crazy 13th frame following an in-off from Fu on the final green, before Fu hit back to take an equally topsy turvy 14th following a pot on the green from Robertson, which saw him also knock the black in.
Needing just one more frame, Fu saved his best until last, a nerveless clearance of 102 enough to get him over the line and secure his first ranking event title in nearly six years.
While he came into the final as the second favourite in the eyes of most observers, it is no great surprise to see Fu take home the title. Indeed, the only real surprise is that this only Marco’s second ranking event title, after the 2007 Grand Prix that he won in Aberdeen. A fine player, with a strong head to head record against some of the game’s strongest players, only inconsistency has denied Fu greater success in his career to date.
As well as earning him the $70,000 top prize (subject to tax and other levies), the victory earns Fu 5,000 ranking points and catapults him back up into the world’s top 16. With relatively few points to defend following a difficult 2011/12 season, Marco has every chance of remaining there for some time to come.
Turning to Robertson, there will be inevitable disappointment following his failure to convert his final appearance into a victory on home soil, though as he told the crowd following the final, he had not come into the event in the best of health and would have taken a run to the final at the start of the week.
With victory in the Wuxi Classic, as well as final appearances both here and in the first European Tour event of the season behind him, it has been an excellent start to the campaign for Robertson which has seen him open up a significant lead at the top of the world rankings.
Today’s final brought not only the 2013 staging of the Australian Goldfields Open to an end, but also the current three-year contract which was agreed following Robertson’s victory at the 2010 World Championship in Sheffield. With a number of the top players having elected to sit out the event, while here in the UK, Eurosport chose not to cover the event, beyond highlights of the final this evening, the general belief is that the contract will not be renewed after this year.
In many ways it is a shame, for snooker to become truly global then it is important to have tournaments outside of Europe and China, while the table conditions in Australia are always widely praised and are conducive to good snooker. Whether the tournament would have benefited from being closer to a big city such as Melbourne is up for debate, but it was always going to be difficult for the tournament to truly prosper, with the absence of some of the sport’s biggest names.
Make no mistake, I do not blame any player for electing to skip the event, indeed the expanded tour calendar give the players the opportunity to do that and given the distance and relatively low levels of prize money, I think that it is quite understandable for any ‘top’ player not to enter this tournament. Ultimately, each player will have different needs and how they wish to schedule their calendar is very much their prerogative.
We shall see. More immediately, the next action will come from Rotterdam as the second European Tour event of the season is completed this week, before we then head to Colombia for the World Games at the end of the month.