Marco Fu

Marco Fu Ka-chun, MH, JP (Chinese: 傅家俊, born 8 January 1978) is a Hong Kong professional snooker player. He won the 2007 Grand Prix, beating Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final, and was the runner-up in the 2008 UK Championship and the 2011 Masters. He also won the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open and the 2016 Scottish Open and was runner-up in the 2013 German Masters and 2013 International Championship. In addition, Fu reached the semi-finals of the World Championship twice – in 2006 and in 2016.

Fu's career high world ranking is fifth, achieved in 2017. As a prolific break-builder, Fu has compiled 500 century breaks in professional competition, including four maximum 147 breaks. He currently resides in London.

Life and career

Early career

Fu started playing snooker at the age of nine, but did not start playing regularly until he was 15. Fu was born in Hong Kong and migrated to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with his parents at the age of 12. After his high school graduation at age 18, Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council Co. Ltd President Joseph Lo invited him to return to Hong Kong to begin his career as a professional snooker player. Before turning professional, Fu won the World Amateur and World Under-21 Championships, both in 1997.

First season as a professional

In 1998, the year he turned professional, Fu reached the final of the Grand Prix, beating Ronnie O'Sullivan (5–2) and then Peter Ebdon (5–3) in the process. An in-form Stephen Lee proved too strong for Fu in the final, defeating him 9–2, but Fu nevertheless rose dramatically through the rankings, reaching number 15 in the world for the 2000/01 season. When he first turned professional, he was ranked 377th in the world. During the rest of the 1998/99 season, Fu qualified for four more ranking tournaments, including the World Championship, winning four qualifying matches before losing to James Wattana 8–10 in the first round of the main draw.

He was voted WPBSA Newcomer of the Year and WSA Young Player of the Year in 1999. Tipped by many pundits as a potential champion of the game, Fu's subsequent performance was disappointing, and he slid back down the rankings.

Rise through the rankings

In the 1999/2000 season, with Fu now ranked 35 in the world, he received automatic entry into the main draw of most of the ranking tournaments. Although he failed to repeat the success of reaching the final of the Grand Prix, he made a credible run to the quarter finals before losing to Allister Carter. Other achievements of note include reaching semi finals of the Malta Grand Prix and the Scottish Open.

In the 2000/2001 season Fu was ranked 15th in the world, his first appearance in the top 16. However, a succession of defeats in the last 16, and a first round defeat in the World Championship to Chris Small, saw him fall out of the top 16 for next season. In the 2001/02 season Fu's best result was a last 16 appearance at the LG Cup. He failed to qualify for three ranking events, including the World Championship, and, as a result, his ranking fell to 27 for the following season, his lowest in two seasons.

The 2002/2003 season brought better luck for Fu, although prior to the Welsh Open his best result was reaching the third round of the UK Championship in December 2002, where he was defeated 9–7 by Ronnie O'Sullivan. However, at the Welsh Open in February 2003, he produced a run to the semi finals. Fu whitewashed Stephen Lee 5–0 in the second round and beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 5–3 in the quarter-finals, before losing his semi-final 6–4 to Stephen Hendry, who went on to win the title.

Going into the 2003 World Championship three months later, after first round losses at the European and Scottish Open suggested he would not go far in the tournament, particularly as his first round opponent was world No. 1 and runaway favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan. Fu reached the first of his two World Championship quarter-finals to date. In what Snooker Scene magazine described as "one of the greatest upsets in the history of the game", the unseeded 25-year-old overcame the odds to defeat O'Sullivan in their first round clash. Fu dominated this match from the outset, opening up a 6–3 overnight lead; and although O'Sullivan made four centuries (including a maximum 147 break), Fu never looked to be in trouble and won 10–6. Fu subsequently eliminated Alan McManus 13–7 in the second round before losing 7–13 to Stephen Lee in his quarter-final match.

In 2003, Fu also won his first title since turning professional in the invitational Premier League, beating Mark Williams 9–5 in the final in Sunderland. This was the first time the title went outside of the British Isles.

First ranking tournament title

As a result of his run to the quarter finals of the World Championship the previous season, he climbed up to number 19 for the 2003/2004 season. This meant he only had to play one qualifying match to progress to the main draw of the tournaments. He qualified for all the ranking tournaments except the World Championship, his best results including a third round loss to Michael Holt in the LG Cup and reaching the semi-finals of the Welsh Open, beating Liu Song, Matthew Stevens, Ken Doherty and Stephen Hendry before succumbing to Steve Davis. After a consistent 2003/2004 season, he regained a top 16 position for 2004/2005 season, ranked 16.

The following season was less consistent, although he qualified for all tournaments except the Malta Cup, and his best result was a quarter-final loss to Ding Junhui at the China Open. He finished the season ranked 25, falling seven places. The 2005/2006 season did not look better either, a series of first round defeats saw him provisionally drop out of the top 32. However, he had a good run at the 2006 World Championship, beating three seeded players – Alan McManus 10–3, Stephen Maguire 13–4, and Ken Doherty 13–10 – to reach the semi-finals, where he lost to world no.7 and 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon 16–17. In that match, Fu was 9–15 down with only one session left to play, but won seven out of the next eight frames to send the match into the deciding frame, which Ebdon eventually won. Fu's success in this tournament can be largely attributed to working with coach Terry Griffiths. Fu had used Griffiths for a short while some years ago – but did not commit to the necessary changes in technique. This run enable him to stay in the world top 32 for next season, ranked 22.

The 2006/2007 season was not hugely successful. He skipped the UK Championship to play in the Asian games (winning two medals there), and, largely due to the fact that he was affected by a virus, was unable to repeat his World Championship form of the previous year, losing 3–10 to Anthony Hamilton in the first round, a defeat that saw Fu start the 2007/2008 season ranked 27th in the world – a drop of five places. His best result that season was a quarter-final run in the China Open, where he lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Marco Fu after winning the 2007 Grand Prix

The 2007/2008 season was to bring his first ranking title. Following a first round loss at the Shanghai Masters and nine years after his first appearance in a ranking final at the 1998 Grand Prix, Fu won the Grand Prix – his first ever victory in a ranking event. After defeating the reigning World Champion John Higgins in the first knock-out round 5–4, Liu Song 5–0 in the quarter-finals and Gerard Greene 6–5 in the semi-finals, he faced Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final. After falling 3–4 behind after the first session, he went on to win 9–6, with a break of 76 in the final frame. Previously, Fu's biggest title has only been the invitational Premier League which he captured in 2003. For the rest of the season, he reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship, losing to Mark Selby; and he also reached the semi-finals of the Masters, losing to Stephen Lee.

He qualified for the World Championship, with a 10–3 win over Alan McManus. He played China's Ding Junhui in the first round, and it was an emphatic fight, which he lost 9–10. He capped a successful season by finishing in career high 14 in the rankings, a climb of thirteen places from the previous season. This guaranteed Fu a seeding for the following season, earning him an automatic place at the venue stages of tournaments without having to play qualifying matches.

2008/2009

The 2008/2009 season started with a last 32 loss to Barry Hawkins in the Northern Ireland Trophy and crashed out in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters to Mark Selby. At the Grand Prix, he lost in the second round to Ronnie O'Sullivan, a repeat of last season's final. Things did not improve for Fu in the Bahrain Championship, where he lost in the first round to Dominic Dale. At the UK Championship, he beat Barry Hawkins in the first round, followed by Matthew Stevens and Joe Perry. In the semi-finals, Fu knocked out the 2008 World Championship runner up, Ali Carter, after a great comeback. At one stage in the match he was trailing 2–5, but Carter missed a simple pink ball in the eighth frame, allowing Fu to win the frame, ending the first session trailing by 3–5. He levelled to 6–6, and then led by 8–6, making three centuries in the process. In the final, Fu was defeated (after conceding) by Shaun Murphy in a tense match by 10 frames to 9. It was a match highly affected by tension and both of the players did not produce their best form, the only century being a 102 from Fu. He suffered a first round defeat to John Higgins at the Masters, decided by a fluked last black, in what was a great effort to nearly force a decider. In the Welsh Open, Fu was defeated by Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals, having beaten Fergal O'Brien en route as well as runaway favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan. In the World Championship, he advanced to the second round by beating Joe Swail 10–4 comfortably. He faced Shaun Murphy in the next round, where he lost 3–13.

2009/2010

The 2009/10 season started with a last 16 loss to Ronnie O'Sullivan by 2–5 at the Shanghai Masters. Along the way, Fu edged out Nigel Bond 5–4. At the Grand Prix he lost in the last 32 4–5 against Mark Davis.

In December 2009, Fu participated in the East Asian Games, held in Hong Kong. In the singles competition he was beaten by Chinese Yu Delu 4–1 in the quarter-finals. But later won a gold medal in the team competition with Hong Kong. Fu lost his next three first round matches. He lost against Peter Lines 3–9 at the UK Championship, Peter Ebdon 2–6 at the Masters and Andrew Higginson 2–5 at the Welsh Open. Later Fu captured the Championship League by beating Mark Allen 3–2 in the final and reached the quarter-finals of the 2010 China Open, where he lost 1–5 against Mark Williams. At the last ranking event of the season, the World Championship Fu faced Martin Gould at the Crucible. Fu lead 5–4 after the first session, after he missed a straight red for 6–3. Ultimately Fu lost the match 9–10. As a result, Fu slid down to 14th in the world rankings.

2010/2011

Marco Fu at the 2011 German Masters

In the 2010/2011 season Fu lost in the first round of the Shanghai Masters 4–5 against Mark Davis and the World Open 1–3 against Andrew Higginson. Fu was ranked 16th in second revision of the rankings. In November 2010, Fu participated in the Asian Games, held in Guangzhou. He won the singles competition by defeating Ding Junhui 4–2 in the final. Fu reached the semi-finals of the Premier League, where he lost 2–5 against Shaun Murphy. Fu reached the second round of the UK Championship, where he lost 2–9 against Stuart Bingham. Fu also participated at the Players Tour Championship, where his best results came at the first and second event in Sheffield, where he reached the semi-finals, but lost 1–4 against Stephen Maguire and 2–4 against Mark Selby respectively. Fu finished 16th on the Players Tour Championship Order of Merit.

Fu reached the final of the Masters, where he lost 4–10 against Ding Junhui, which was notable for being the first all Chinese final. Fu reached the semi-finals of the German Masters, where he lost 3–6 against Mark Williams. In Welsh Open, he lost 0–4 against Mark Williams in last 32, after winning his qualifying match 4–1 against Joe Swail. Fu lost his first round matches at the China Open and World Championship, 3–5 against Judd Trump and 8–10 against Martin Gould respectively. He finished the season ranked world number 23, the first time he has been outside of the elite top 16 since 2007.

2011/2012

Fu qualified for four of the eight ranking tournaments of the 2011/2012 season. At the Welsh Open he lost in the first round 1–4 to Ronnie O'Sullivan and he also lost in the first round of the World Open following a 3–5 defeat to John Higgins. Fu had earlier made the second 147 of his career during the final qualifying round for the World Open, in a match against Matthew Selt. Fu's best performance of the season came at the UK Championship. He qualified by beating Anthony Hamilton 6–5 and then saw off Stuart Bingham 6–4 in the first round to set up a last 16 clash with world number one, Mark Selby who was the favourite to win the tournament. Fu caused a major shock by defeating the Englishman 6–3 and then went on to play Mark Allen in the quarter-finals. Fu led 5–4 in the match, but would lose the last two frames to bow out of the tournament.

Fu qualified for the World Championship with a 10–4 win over Joe Jogia, but lost in the first round of the event 3–10 to Matthew Stevens. As a result, he finished the season ranked world number 28, his lowest position since the 1999/2000 season.

2012/2013

Fu began the 2012/2013 season at the Wuxi Classic Qualifying on 8 June 2012. However, he lost in the final qualifying round 2–5 to Jamie Burnett. He qualified for every other ranking event during the season beginning with the Australian Goldfields Open, compiling three century breaks in a 5–2 win over Gerard Greene. In Australia, Fu saw a return to form as he beat Joe Perry, Jamie Burnett and Stephen Lee all by 5–1 scorelines to reach the semi-finals. There he lost 2–6 to Peter Ebdon and said after the match that his goal for the season was to reclaim a top 16 place. At the Shanghai Masters he lost 4–5 in the wildcard round to Lü Haotian and at the International Championship he secured wins over Martin Gould and Mark Davis to reach the quarter-finals. Fu let a 3–1 lead against Shaun Murphy slip to lose 4–6. Before he played Mark Allen in the first round of the UK Championship, Allen reiterated his views that Fu has cheated in the past. Fu himself denied the claims, having never been found guilty of any offence, and went on to defeat Allen 6–3. In the second round he lost 4–6 to Matthew Stevens. Fu reached his first ranking event final since 2008 at the German Masters by beating Ricky Walden, Peter Lines and Matthew Stevens all 5–3. His semi-final against Barry Hawkins included a near hour-long battle of safety play, with Fu edging the match 6–4 just after midnight local time. Fu led Ali Carter 5–3 after the opening session of the final, but on the resumption of play did not pot a ball for 86 minutes and went on to lose 6–9. Following this, Fu lost in the second round of the World Open to Ding Junhui and in the first round of the Welsh Open and the China Open to Allen and Graeme Dott respectively.

Fu played in seven minor-ranking Players Tour Championship events and reached the final of the Third Event by seeing off the likes of Stephen Maguire, Mark Williams, Ali Carter and Shaun Murphy. He lost to world number 65 Rod Lawler 2–4 in the final. He also reached the quarter-finals of the European Tour Event 3 which helped him finish 21st on the Order of Merit to qualify for the Finals. In the Finals Fu beat Mark Joyce and Carter, before losing 1–4 to Tom Ford in the quarter-finals. Fu won Group 7 of the Championship League courtesy of a 3–0 victory over Maguire and in the Winners Group lost in the semi-finals 0–3 to Carter. Fu beat Matthew Stevens 10–7 in the first round of the World Championship to face Judd Trump in the last 16. He fell 2–6 behind after the first session, but fought back to trail only 7–8 before losing five consecutive frames to end his season with a 7–13 defeat. Fu finished just short of his early season goal to get back into the top 16 as he finished world number 17, but this did mean he had climbed 11 spots during the year.

2013/2014

The Wuxi Classic was Fu's first ranking event of the 2013/2014 season, with him losing 4–5 to Mark King in the second round. He then played in the Australian Goldfields Open and enjoyed comfortable victories over Ken Doherty (5–2), Shaun Murphy (5–2) and Dominic Dale (5–1). In the semi-finals he built a 4–1 lead over Robert Milkins and held his nerve when the Englishman levelled at 4–4 to triumph 6–4. Fu faced home favourite and world number one Neil Robertson in the final, defeating him 9–6 to take the second ranking event title of his career and regain his place in the top 16 of the world rankings. Another final followed at the minor-ranking Bluebell Wood Open, with Fu fighting back from 1–3 down against Ricky Walden to square the match at 3–3 and was unfortunate in the decider when Walden fluked a red, before making a match winning clearance. Fu then lost in the second round of both the Shanghai Masters and the Indian Open 5–3 to Kyren Wilson and 4–3 to Gary Wilson respectively. He advanced to the quarter-finals of the International Championship in Chengdu, China, where he played Mark Selby. Fu came back from 5–3 down to take the match 6–5 with consecutive breaks of 84 and 112 in the final frame. His semi-final match against Joe Perry was very tight with many frames lasting 40 minutes, but it was Fu who won 9–8 on the colours to reach his third ranking event final of 2013. In a third successive final featuring two Asian players Fu won an hour long frame to hold a 9–8 advantage over his opponent Ding Junhui but went on to lose 10–9 without getting one clear chance to take the title. Fu rose to a career-high ranking of world number six after the event.

Fu then suffered shock defeats in the first round of the UK Championship and German Masters to Mitchell Travis and Paul Davison respectively. He reached the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open but was whitewashed 5–0 by Barry Hawkins. Fu beat world number one Neil Robertson in the last 16 of the World Open 5–4 on a re-spotted black and eliminated Mark Joyce 5–3. In the semi-finals he won three successive frames from 5–1 down against Mark Selby, but lost the next frame to be beaten 6–4. Another semi followed at the PTC Finals with a 4–1 victory against John Higgins in the quarters, however, he had a surprise 4–2 defeat against Gerard Greene. Fu lost 13–8 to Shaun Murphy in the second round of the World Championship. Fu continued his recent rise back up the rankings as he finished the season as the world number six.

2014/2015

The 2014/2015 season was a year of quarter-finals for Fu has he played in seven but could never win one. His first came in the opening ranking event, the Wuxi Classic, where he lost 5–4 to Barry Hawkins. He was knocked out in the first round of the Shanghai Masters, but saw off Liam Highfield, David Gilbert and Rod Lawler at the International Championship, before a ranking event quarter-final went the distance for the second time this season as Fu lost 6–5 to Robert Milkins. He was whitewashed 6–0 by Ronnie O'Sullivan in the last eight of the non-ranking Champion of Champions. Another quarter-final followed at the UK Championship after Fu came back from 5–3 down to eliminate Shaun Murphy 6–5, with both players criticising the condition of the table after the match. He was knocked out 6–4 by Stephen Maguire.

At the Masters, Fu made the third competitive maximum break of his professional career during his first-round match against Stuart Bingham, whom he defeated 6–3 to advance to the sixth quarter-final of his season, where O'Sullivan beat him 6–1. His final quarter-final exit of the season came in the Welsh Open 5–1 at the hands of Mark Williams. For the ninth successive season Fu was unable to progress past the second round of the World Championship as Judd Trump ousted him 13–8.

2015/2016

After exiting the first two ranking events of the 2015/2016 season at the first round stage, Fu met David Gilbert in the quarter-finals of the International Championship, but let a 4–2 lead slip to a 6–5 defeat. He won the non-ranking General Cup by beating Mark Williams 7–3. Fu eliminated Shaun Murphy in the fourth round of the UK Championship for the second year in a row. Liang Wenbo opened their quarter-final match with three successive centuries, but Fu fought back to send the tie to a deciding frame which he lost. En route to the final of the Gibraltar Open, Fu made a 147 in the second round against Sam Baird. Fu won his first title carrying ranking points since the 2013 Australian Open by eliminating Michael White 4–1 in the final. In the 2016 World Championship, Fu saw off Peter Ebdon, Anthony McGill and Barry Hawkins to reach the semi-final but eventually lost to Mark Selby 17–15, noted to be the second World Championship semi-final loss for Fu.

2016/2017

After enduring a difficult start to the 2016/2017 season where he failed to get beyond the second round of the first eight ranking events, Fu came back from 5–2 down to defeat Jamie Jones in the quarter-finals of the UK Championship. At 5–4 up on Ronnie O'Sullivan in the semis, Fu got a huge kick on a red when in the balls and also missed a green with the rest later on as O'Sullivan levelled and then made a 130 break in the deciding frame to win. Before the end of 2016, Fu reached the final of the Scottish Open, with his closest game being a 4–3 victory over Neil Robertson in the fourth round as Fu did not lose more than a frame in his other five matches. In the final John Higgins opened the match with three centuries, before Fu added one of his own. He came from 4–1 down by winning eight frames in a row to land his third ranking tournament title. Throughout the tournament, Fu made 11 centuries and 21 more breaks over 50 in seven matches.

In an extremely high quality first round match at the Masters, Judd Trump made two centuries and Fu three, with there being nine further breaks above 50 as Fu edged through 6–5. He beat Mark Allen 6–2 and then lost 6–4 to O'Sullivan in the semi-finals. Fu also played in the semi-finals of the World Grand Prix and was 4–3 up on Ryan Day, who needed four snookers in the eighth frame. He went on to get them to square the match and then overcame Fu 6–4. At the Players Championship, Fu defeated Anthony McGill 5–1 and Mark Selby 5–2, before coming back from 5–3 down against Ding Junhui to win 6–5 and reach the final. From 5–2 up on Trump, Fu lost six frames in a row and would be beaten 10–8. Fu had a terrible start to his first round match at the World Championship as he was 7–1 down to Luca Brecel, though he did make a century to be 7–2 behind overnight. He won the first two frames upon the resumption of play and eventually levelled at 8–8, before completing the comeback with a 10–9 victory. The second round saw Fu play Neil Robertson and the match was evenly poised throughout with the first session finishing 4–4, the second 8–8 and Robertson moving to 11–10 up in the last session. The first to 13 would qualify for the quarter-finals to meet Mark Selby and despite a kick when 59–0 ahead at 12–11 that almost let Robertson level, Fu proceeded to win 13–11. Fu was then defeated 13–3 by defending and eventual champion Selby, losing with a session to spare. However, he was ranked sixth after the event, the highest Fu has ever finished a season in his career.

2017/2018

The 2017/2018 season saw Marco Fu getting off to another difficult start, as he was unable to reach the quarter final of any ranking event before the turn of the year. Two weeks after suffering a 6–0 defeat against Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round of the Masters, Fu revealed that he had undergone laser eye surgery in December to treat retinal degeneration and floaters in his dominant left eye. Fu indicated he regretted taking part in the Masters while still recovering from the surgery. He also announced that he would not enter any more tournaments before making a full recovery and regaining his old level in training. He is set to make his return at the World Championship in April. Fu went on to the World Championship as last year's quarter finalist and lost to young Chinese talent Lyu Haotian 10-5.

Status and records

Fu is a prolific break-builder. He is the ninth player in history to have produced at least 500 competitive centuries and is currently ranked as No. 9 in the all time centuries list. He achieved his highest break of 147 at the 2000 Scottish Masters, the 2012 World Open qualifying stage, the 2015 Masters and the Gibraltar Open 2015. Fu once held the record for the longest frame in the history of televised snooker. The record of 77 minutes held with Mark Selby was played out during the decisive final frame during the quarter-final match at the 2007 UK Championship held in Telford, England. Fu eventually lost the match 7–9. However, the record was then broken by Shaun Murphy and Dave Harold in a match at the China Open later in the same season. The new record is 93 minutes.

Personal life

Fu was educated in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and has had spells living in Wales and Scotland. He currently lives in London, where he once lived with his wife Shirley, who is also from Hong Kong and who has a masters in supply chain logistics. The couple married in 2011 and have two daughters, born in 2012 and 2015 respectively. His wife and his two daughters returned to Hong Kong in 2016 in order to facilitate their education. On 30 June 2017, Fu was appointed by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as a Justice of the Peace.

Fu is a Buddhist and subsequently a vegetarian. He claims that it helps him stay calm after making a mistake; he believes that snooker is a unique game as, after a mistake, one must sit in their seat watching the opponent perform, thus a player must learn to forget all the good and bad things that happened beforehand. Going meatless makes him feel more energised during competition. Shirley has been vegetarian since she was about 12. The couple attempt to explain to their children the reasons why the family is vegetarian, especially the importance of respecting life, but Fu insists that it is up to them to decide as they grow older and have better faculties of reason.

Performance and rankings timeline

Career finals

Ranking finals: 8 (3 titles, 5 runners-up)

Minor-ranking finals: 3 (1 title, 2 runners-up)

Non-ranking finals: 8 (5 titles, 3 runners-up)

Pro-am finals: 1 (1 title)

Team finals: 1 (1 runner-up)

Amateur finals: 2 (2 titles)

Television

Outside of competition, Fu has hosted a ten-episode series on Hong Kong's ViuTV entitled Marco Fu and Friends (約咗傅家俊), with the format of an informal chatshow with celebrities of Hong Kong and playing a frame of snooker (with a handicap) in between.

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article "Marco Fu", released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.