We often talk about the two Ronnies in snooker but Marco Fu is another player with a huge gap between his best and his worst.

At his best he is a fine match player, as he proved in beating O’Sullivan to win the 2007 Grand Prix and at the 2006 World Championship, where he came within a frame of the final.

But he can also look badly out of sorts and unable to mount a serious challenge. Last season was a poor one save for winning the Championship League, which has got him into the partycasino.com Premier League, which starts tonight.

The man from Hong Kong faces O’Sullivan in his first match and won’t be overawed, having beaten him eight times in their 20 meetings.

O’Sullivan finds it hard to play him, possibly because Fu keeps in emotions entirely hidden whereas Ronnie wears his heart on his sleeve.

Fu’s playing style is also resolutely regimented. He plays to a nice, natural rhythm neither fast nor slow, but certainly slower than O’Sullivan. It’s easy to imagine Ronnie getting frustrated when Marco gets into the groove.

But Fu will likely have to play well to get anything out of the match because this is an event O’Sullivan relishes more than most.

I think Fu essentially has two problems. One is homesickness: he loves Hong Kong but does not spend as much time there as he would like.

The other is insecurities about his game resulting from extensive chopping and changing with his technique.

But when it all comes together he is a tough prospect and he’s also the same polite, dryly humorous guy he was when he first broke through by reaching the Grand Prix final in 1998 during his debut season.

Back then many thought he would become the first Asian world champion. The fact is, he still might, but his first priority should be to discover the consistency that has been strangely lacking from his career.

A high profile win over O’Sullivan tonight would certainly give Fu a large jolt of confidence.


shaun said...

i actually enjoy watching fu when hes in full flow but when not at his best there are times when he looks like a club player.He was horrendous at times against martin gould at sheffield and i agree that chopping and changing his technique is a major factor.Sometimes it pays to just go back to the technique that your comfortable with and concentrate on potting balls.good luck marco

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,on a seperate issue,i wathched the Alex Higgins documentery last night which i thought was excellent,however can you shed any light on whatever happened to Paul Hatterall,the touranament director,that Alex punched on that fateful night at the UK.

Ray said...

Sorry to change the subject but watching the Alex Higgins documentary last night there were more than a few tears shed.The pleasure Alex gave me and my brother, both live and on tv over the years, you just can't put a price on. A true bonafide original.
Barry McGuigan spoke eloquently but as for Steve Davis,Dennis Taylor,Ronnie O'Sullivan and Barry Hearn,although they said some really nice things it did ring a bit hollow. You have to admire their front,in fact they have more front than Blackpool seeing as they chose not to attend the great man's funeral. Breathtaking or what?
Dave I thought you would have featured this documentary on your blog today?

By the way, Barry Hearn said on Radio 5 Live a few months ago that he would be announcing big, positive news for snooker on 1st September. Perhaps we could know via the blog whether he has announced it,or is about to announce it or is there nothing to announce?

Dave H said...

I don't know what Hatherall is doing now.

I thought the documentary was excellent. I wouldn't criticise anyone for not going to Alex's funeral, it's a personal choice and I don't know their personal circumstances on the day.

There are announcements coming, but I don't know when they will be unveiled and I shan't pre-empt them on here.

Greg P said...

I know I won't be the only one saying this today but it's funny that Fu qualified for the Premier League, when he's surely the second most (in)famous "slow" player after Ebdon (out of the current lot of players, of course). We know Barry really doesn't like that kind of player, just remember his comments about Ebdon and the 2006 world final...

And Marco did it by winning the Championship League which has no shot clock. And no crowd either, which really takes the pressure off.

Really, it's a bit like having a hot dog eating contest as a qualifying round for a place in the Olympic gymnastics.

Also, I'm very much looking forward to seeing the renewed Mark Williams in this year's league. He's so good to watch, I don't know why they didn't put him on the opening night as well as Ronnie.

Dave H said...

With Asian TV sales I can assure you Hearn is perfectly happy that Fu is in the League - he was picked last season remember

Greg P said...

Yeah I know, I remember. I was just joking really. But Ding is probably a much bigger draw than Fu at the moment and he's in there anyway.

About Higgins. I wouldn't describe the documentary as excellent myself. It was okay but not excellent.

I found it to be rather too focused on the dark side of Higgins and it didn't spend enough time celebrating or elaborating on his extraordinary play which is what made him famous in the first place. Yes they did a sequence on the 69 break but I would have liked to see a little more on-table action to balance out the sadness. That's just my opinion.

Maybe it's too soon for that? A couple of people in the documentary looked like they were still coming to terms with the loss (Jimmy White obviously...) It's still really too damn sad to think about it all...

I, like Dennis Taylor said, prefer to just think about the good side of it, and the heyday. Maybe it's something for ESPN classic to do?

ddrIII said...

I honestly believes Fu already missed the golden chance to become World Champion in 2006. It may not happens forever.

Anonymous said...

I thought the documentary itself was quite balanced although I was a bit disappointed that they didn't show any footage of Higgins 1972 World title win or any interviews with his son Jordan (a lot of people forget he had a son). Probably could have also done with more interviews with people that really knew him instead of Davis who didn't much like him.

Back to your blog Dave, Marco Fu really is Jekyll and Hyde, how can you consistently struggle to beat the journeymen of the game yet consistently beat O'Sullivan and John Higgins. But he should be ok, he's a former PL winner who has played under the shot clock.


kildare cueman said...

I agree with 1.41. I thought Higgins was a nasty piece of work and am sick of hearing about his tantrums.

I loved to watch him play though, and was a huge fan of Higgins the player. He brought an air of tension and excitement with him whenever he graced an arena, and was indeed, compulsive viewing.

I have scoured youtube, without success, for coverage of Higgins' matches from the 70's.

There must be loads of stuff recorded. The Beeb recorded all his World Championship matches from the mid 70s and RTE his Irish Masters exploits. There were also regional tournaments like the Tolly Cobbold Classic that were televised in their particular areas and all ITV snooker from the 80s.

While he wasn't anywhere near as accurate as todays players, some of the low percentage positional shots he pulled off on occasion were simply awesome.

We,ve seen the 69 and the 135 from 1982 a million times. We've seen the tears and the baby 2 million times.

Wouldn't it be nice to see recordings of some of his earlier stuff, that is, when he was good.

jamie brannon said...

Personally, I thought it understandably considering the recency of his death focused more on his influence on the game rather than his dark side.

There was no reference to his physical and sexual assaults on women.

For me, he was the most influential player in the games history just ahead of Joe Davis, who was the godfather of snooker and Stephen Hendry who has been imitated in style by more players than any other.

Good documentary nonetheless and some poignant moments particulary when they were talking about his desire not to be helped.

Dave H said...

Higgins's 1989 Irish Masters win over Hendry will be released on DVD soon as the first in a series of 'great matches'

kildare cueman said...

I was at the 1989 final, where I had laid some friends the 50-1 Higgins that the bookies were offering pre tournament.

To my consternation, he hopped his way to the title, beating Hendry in the final, having to win the last three frames.

My bookmaking aspirations, like the hurricanes telly, went out the window that day.

Anonymous said...

marco is one of the nicest pros i have met (and ive met [and know] many)

Anonymous said...

Will the real Marco Fu please remain seated. Every time I see you with a cue in your hand I nod off.

Anonymous said...

that will be a visitor from ronnies forum (where links to these blogs are put regularly)...