Fu’s Flare and Upsets Abound: Drama at World Championship Qualifiers

Marco Fu staged a dramatic comeback, defeating 1997 Crucible champion Ken Doherty 10-6 to edge closer to a return to the Theatre of Dreams after six years at the Cazoo World Championship qualifying in Sheffield. The Hong Kong cue master’s last Crucible appearance dates back to 2018, enduring a hiatus from the tour due to pandemic travel restrictions and ongoing eye problems.

Despite his persistent eye issues, Fu, a three-time ranking event victor, showcased glimpses of his prowess this season. Notable performances include reaching the last 16 at the Welsh Open and a commanding 5-1 victory over Mark Selby at the German Masters, albeit interrupted by retirement in a match against Alfie Davies.

In a closely contested match with Doherty, Fu unleashed a flurry of brilliance when tied at 6-6, surging towards victory with breaks of 97, 136, and 61. Although his attempt at a maximum 147 in the final frame fell short, ending at 104 while maneuvering for position on the black, Fu sealed the win at 9-6.

Looking ahead, Fu anticipates a formidable challenge against Iranian top seed. Reflecting on his journey, Fu expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play at the Crucible, emphasizing the importance of taking each match as it comes.

Meanwhile, Belgian talent Julien Leclecq bolstered his tour prospects with a decisive 10-3 triumph over Hayden Pinhey, likely securing his place. Elsewhere, former World Champion Graeme Dott of Scotland secured a 10-5 victory against Mostafa Dorgham, while Jiang Jun caused an upset with a 10-8 win over former European Masters winner Fan Zhengyi.

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