Name: Marco Fu
DOB: 8th January 1978
Nationality: Hong Kong
Turned Pro: 1998
Highest Ranking: 8th (2009/10)
Highest Break: 147×3 (2000 Scottish Masters, 2012 World Open Q, 2015 Masters)
Career Highlights: 2007 Grand Prix champion, 2013 Australian Open champion, 2006 World Championship semi-finalist, 2003 Premier League champion, 2010 Championship League Winner, 2008 UK Championship finalist, 1998 Grand Prix finalist, 2013 International Championship finalist
A highly promising amateur, Fu underlined his potential by winning the Asian Amateur, World Amateur and World U-21 Championships in 1997. A year later he had turned professional and impressed from the start, reaching the 11th qualifying round of the 1998 World Championship and ending the season with a ranking of 377.
His impact on his first full season was to be just as remarkable. In the very first tournament he managed to negotiate the qualifying rounds before taking care of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Peter Ebdon to reach the final of the 1998 Grand Prix. A unique achievement for someone of that ranking, despite Marco’s 9-2 defeat to Stephen Lee in the final, a star looked to have been born.
His performances over the rest of the season were consistently strong and he ended the season up in 35th position as well as being voted the 1999 WSA Young Player of the year.
This form continued into 1999/2000 and following another two semi-final spots and a second appearance of the Crucible, he was up into the top 16 after just two seasons..
Dip in form
Marco’s rapid progress was not to continue over the next few years however as his performance levels and confidence began to fall. Despite making his first career 147 against Ken Doherty in the Regal Scottish Masters and a semi-final spot in the Premier League, he was to fall back out of the top 16 where he was to remain for the next three years.
Victory in the Matchroom Premier League in 2003 aside, the huge potential that had seen Fu make such an impact of the tour appeared to have fizzled out somewhat as he continued to struggle in the ranking events.
The big turnaround however came at the 2006 World Championships where following a period of coaching from former champion Terry Griffiths, Fu made a shock run to the semi-final stage. Having beaten the in-form Ken Doherty in his quarter-final, he was to meet 2002 champion Peter Ebdon in what was to be a thrilling encounter.
With Ebdon leading 15-9, Fu fought back superbly to level at 16-16, only to be denied by a nerveless clearance from Ebdon in the decider. The tournament was at least a huge step in the right direction for Fu though as he now appeared to have his confidence back at last.
Grand Prix glory
A year later it was all to come together in brilliant style as Marco won his first ranking event title at the 2007 Royal London Watches Grand Prix. Entering the final as the underdog against Ronnie O’Sullivan, he held his nerve brilliantly throughout and never showed any signs of the pressure that he must have felt towards the end.
Performing well for the rest of the season he ended it back in the top 16 and this time looked well-equipped to stay there for the foreseeable future.
The following season did not start off in particularly impressive style, his best result from the first four events coming at the Shanghai Masters where he made it as far as the quarter-finals.
In the UK Championship though he defeated Barry Hawkins, Matthew Stevens, Joe Perry and Ali Carter to go all the way to the final before coming unstuck against Shaun Murphy in the early hours of Monday morning. While disappointing, the result did put him up into the top six of the provisional rankings for the first time and also saw him become the 24th player to pass the £1,000,000 mark in career prize money, no mean feat.
That was to prove the high point of his season however as although he was able to defeat Ronnie O’Sullivan en route to the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open, early exits in the Masters and the China Open highlighted the inconsistency that has plagued his career.
Furthermore his season ended on a real low note as he suffered a heavy 13-3 defeat to eventual finalist Shaun Murphy. Nonetheless he had done enough to move up to a career high ranking of number eight for the 2009/10 season.
Marco’s poor form continued into the 2009/10 season as he won just one match from the first three ranking events, culminating in a surprise defeat to the unheralded Peter Lines at the UK Championship. Furthermore a disappointing run in the Premier League tournament saw him finish the group stage bottom with just one win.
His struggles continued with an early exit at the Masters and a last 32 defeat at the Welsh Open to start 2010 before he finally got a win on the board at the China Open with a run to the quarter-finals to secure his top 16 status for a further year. Up against dangerous qualifier Martin Gould at the World Championship however it was to be another tournament to forget for Marco as he lost out 10-9 and saw his ranking drop six places to 14 as a result.
Amidst his ranking event struggles however, Marco did have something to celebrate in 2010 as he played brilliantly to capture the Championship League and qualify for the 2010 Premier League. 2-0 down and needing a snooker against Mark Allen in the final it did not look likely but having got the snooker he never really looked back on his way to a 3-2 victory.
Having struggled for much of the previous campaign Marco began 2010/11 needing an upturn in fortunes if he was to maintain his position inside the world’s top 16.
Building on the signs of improvement shown towards the end of the previous season, Marco got off to a good start with several victories during the Players Tour Championship ensuring that although he did not win one of the events, he would least gain enough ranking points to secure a seeding for the Masters.
Early defeats during both the Shanghai Masters and the World Open however meant that following the UK Championship where he lost out at the last 16 stage to Stuart Bingham, he would drop down to 18th place and be required to qualify for the Welsh Open and German Masters.
A mid-season revival was to follow from the man from Hong Kong however as he performed well to reach the final of the Wembley Masters for the first time, coming back from 4-1 down against Mark Allen in the semi-final to eventually win 6-4. In the first major all-Asian final against Ding Junhui however he struggled to recapture that level of form and eventually lost the match 10-4.
On the back of this run however came his first ranking event semi-final of the season in Berlin as he saw off Dave Harold, Mark King and Joe Swail before losing 6-3 to eventual winner Mark Williams. This combined with a last 32 appearance at the subsequent Welsh Open was enough to see Marco move back into the top 16 ahead of the China Open and most importantly the World Championship.
From there however Marco was to suffer a low-key climax to the season, losing his opening round match in Beijing to Judd Trump before again losing to Martin Gould at the Crucible as he had done a year previously, this time 10-8. As a result Marco was to fall down to 23rd place in the rankings at the season’s end.
Having opted out of the season-opening Australian Goldfields Open tournament, Marco made a slow start to the 2011/12 campaign as his status among the world’s top 32 came under pressure towards the end of 2011.
Marco at the 2011 UK Championship
Importantly however, his 6-5 victory at the UK Championship qualifiers against Anthony Hamilton, taking the decider on the black having trailed 55-1, proved to be a vital victory as the man from Hong Kong then followed it up with wins against Stuart Bingham and Mark Selby at the venue in York before losing out to Mark Allen in the quarter-finals. Despite that defeat, his run was enough to move him back up the rankings and give him an important confidence boost heading into 2012.
Marco began 2012 with a bang as he not only qualified for the final stages of the Haikou World Open with a 5-2 win against Matt Selt, but also made his second career maximum break during the sixth frame to move 4-2 ahead.
From there Marco was able to qualify for the final stages of the Welsh Open and World Championship tournaments, however his season was to end at the Crucible with a 10-3 defeat at the hands of Welshman Matthew Stevens.
Marco was to make a strong start to the 2012/13 season with a run to the semi-finals of the Australian Goldfields Open, where he would lose out 6-2 to former world champion Peter Ebdon.
A run to the final of the UKPTC3 event in Gloucester would follow, as he produced his best form to defeat the likes of Stephen Maguire, Mark Williams, Ali Carter and Shaun Murphy, before falling short against an inspired Rod Lawler.
Quarter-final runs would follow at the ET3 and International Championship events, before his year ended at the UK Championship with another defeat to his Crucible conqueror Matthew Stevens.
In 2013, Marco was to reach another final, this time in Berlin as he defeated the likes of Ricky Walden, Barry Hawkins and Matthew Stevens to earn a shot at Ali Carter at the German Masters. Though he was to lead 5-3 after the opening session, he could not prevent Ali from taking a 9-6 victory before a capacity audience at the Tempodrom.
A quarter-final run at the PTC Finals in Galway would follow, before he ended the season with a 13-7 defeat to Judd Trump at the last 16 of the World Championship in Sheffield.
The 2013/14 season was to prove arguably the strongest yet of Marco’s career, as he found an improved level of consistency to go with his game.
His biggest success as to come at the Australian Goldfields Open tournament, where he defeated Ken Doherty, Shaun Murphy, Dominic Dale, Robert Milkins and finally home favourite Neil Robertson, to capture his second career ranking title.
Another final was to follow at the smaller European Tour 3 event in Doncaster, where he lost out to Ricky Walden, before he again impressed at the International Championship in Chengdu, losing out 10-9 to Ding Junhui in a thrilling final.
Though he was unable to mount a challenge for the titles at the UK Championship and Masters events, he was to finish the season strongly with a quarter-final run at the Welsh Open, before he made back to back semi-finals at the Haikou World Open and Players Championship Grand Finals, surprisingly losing out to Gerard Greene in the latter.
Automatically seeded for the Crucible, Marco was to meet qualifier Martin Gould for the third time at the last 32 stage of the World Championship, this time winning 10-7 to reach the last 16, before losing out 13-8 to Shaun Murphy.
Marco’s performances had though been enough to see him climb nine places from the season start to 8th in the season-ending rankings.
Marco’s best results during the course of the 2014/15 season were to be four quarter-final runs at full-ranking events, including at the UK Championship where he lost out 6-4 to Stephen Maguire in York.
He also enjoyed success at invitational events, reaching the last eight of both the Champion of Champions and Masters, losing on both occasions to Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Though he was able to win his opening match at the Crucible against Jimmy Robertson, he ended the season down three places in 11th in the official world rankings.
Ranking Event wins (2)
|Australian Goldfields Open||2013|
Non-Ranking Event wins (2)
|Matchroom Premier League||2003|
|Matchroom Championship League||2010|