Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Snooker: Marco Fu Defeats Ronnie in Aberdeen

It's amazing to think that a player of Ronnie O'Sullivan's ability hasn't won a ranking tournament since the 2005 Fáilte Ireland Irish Masters. That season was a reasonable season for Ronnie also winning the totesport Grand Prix and the Welsh Open, making up a trio of ranking events. He was probably feeling pretty good (by his standards of feeling good) because he'd won the World Championships the season before.

But it's worth noting that the tournament after the Welsh Open was the Malta Cup, a tournament he decided not to compete in. And the tournament after the Fáilte Ireland Irish Masters was the China Open, a tournament he decided not to compete in. Way back then the prize money was low and snooker was at a low point. I seem to remember Ronnie saying something along the lines of, why bother traveling to these events when you can only win a few thousand pounds? The fact that he'd won the previous respective tournaments might have had an impact too.

A couple of years on, and Ronnie still hasn't won a ranking event. He missed the Shanghai Masters earlier this season due to medical reasons, decided to skip the Pot Black Cup a couple of weeks ago because he fancied a run, and Marco Fu defeated him in the final on Sunday in the Grand Prix at Aberdeen.

It was a great final. Fu played excellent snooker to win and his 60 clearance in the 14th frame could be hailed as one of the greatest clearances of all time! I, for one, certainly thought that Fu could not clear the table in one visit. Ronnie had just knocked in a nice 58 but then broke down. Marco came to the table with at least 3 reds near cushions in the baulk area. For me it was a case of potting a few balls, running for cover and keeping the game tight. But Fu just kept on potting them, ball after ball, great pot after great pot, and my jaw was touching the floor as final black dropped.

This was Fu's first ranking event and makes him the third Asian player to win a ranking event, following in the footsteps of the great James Wattana, and more recently, the temperamental Ding Junhui. Marco Fu was very modest in his victory, saying that it meant more to him because he had beaten Ronnie in the final. Remember he also beat John Higgins earlier in the tournament, Fu has great records against these top players and is a player that should probably be in the top 16. Beating Ronnie and Higgins on the way to capturing a main ranking event would delight any top professional so you can understand how delighted Marco Fu is!

There are 5 more ranking events this season, can Ronnie get this curse off his back of not winning a ranking event since 2005? Marco is looking in good form. Could he win the World Championships this year. He narrowly missed the final in 2006 getting beat by Peter Ebdon by 17-16. Some people think it's Ding's year, becoming the youngest ever world champion but I think his temperament is in pieces after Ronnie demolished him in the Masters at the beginning of this year. Already we've had 2 unexpected champions this season in Dominic Dale and Marco Fu, what more will this season bring.

I'm looking forward to the second biggest tournament on the calendar in November, the Maplin UK Championships.


Anonymous said...

"But it's worth noting that the tournament after the Welsh Open was the Malta Cup, a tournament he decided not to compete in."

Ronnie did compete in the 2005 Malta Cup. He was beaten 5-0 by Greame Dott in the first round.

andy said...

Very true, my mistake. Maybe it was the 2006 Malta Cup he didn't compete in... ??