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Monday, Dec 05, 2022

Fu thrills home crowd with 147 break comeback win

Hong Kong's Marco Fu hit a maximum break to defeat four-time world champion John Higgins in the deciding frame at the Hong Kong Masters semi-finals on Saturday.
Fu's heroics brought the crowd of nearly 6,000 to its feet at the cavernous Hong Kong Coliseum, which organisers say has drawn record numbers for a live snooker event.

"I still can't believe what just happened today, this is crazy!" Fu wrote on Facebook after his win.

The local favourite was behind for the whole match with Higgins taking the opening frame on an assured 105 break and pushing ahead for a 4-2 lead.

The Scot recorded another ton on the ninth frame to go up 5-4.

But Fu clawed his way back to 5-5 before launching into what he described post-match as the greatest moment of his career.

After methodically putting away the final black ball, he was greeted with thunderous cheers and a standing ovation.

The tournament is returning after a five-year absence, with organisers eager to bill it as Hong Kong's first major international sports event since the pandemic began.

The financial hub has only recently begun to ease its strict Covid-19 restrictions.

Fans have poured into the Coliseum throughout the event and were thrilled by Fu's victory.

"I was very emotional, very proud of Marco. It's an unforgettable day for him and also for Hong Kong," local snooker fan Cary Lui, who attended the match, told AFP.

With six top international players showing up for the event, Fu had earlier said he wondered if he even belonged in the elite lineup.

"These few years my confidence had been slipping... It felt like I was already not part of these circles, as if I was an amateur challenging the pros," he told reporters on Friday.

Having peaked at world no. 5 in 2017, Fu spent the following year struggling with an eye illness and was forced to put his career on hold again during the pandemic.

But the 44-year-old has come roaring back, first beating Mark Selby in a 5-2 quarterfinal on Friday before edging out Higgins 6-5 on Saturday, with the fifth 147 break of his career.

He will next face snooker legend Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final on Sunday.

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