Marco Fu. Now there’s a player who is hard to read.
When he plays well he gets into such a nice rhythm that he is unstoppable. He’s won a ranking title, been UK Championship and Masters runner-up and a semi-finalist at the World Championship.
But when he struggles he really struggles. Fu has a good record against several top players – including John Higgins, his opponent in the Haikou World Open today – but he has also lost matches where he appeared nailed on.
Marco is one of snooker’s true gents, a player without any malice or self importance. He of course made a 147 in qualifying for the World Open but form doesn’t seem to matter with him. He could conceivably beat Higgins comfortably or slump to a disappointing defeat.
Higgins himself has not enjoyed the best of seasons. Victory over Ding Junhui at the Welsh Open could have turned his campaign around but he missed a tough pink en route to winning 4-2 and was beaten 4-3 by the eventual champion.
Ding today plays Jin Long after his fellow Chinese beat Sam Baird in the increasingly controversial wildcard round yesterday.
Baird was one of two qualifiers to lose, the other being Nigel Bond, with a couple of other matches being a little too close for comfort.
The big guns finally start firing today and Judd Trump will doubtless draw a large crowd. It was in China last year that he broke through as a major force and since winning the UK Championship he has appeared in a semi-final, two quarter-finals and got himself up to a career best third in the world rankings.
I hope the creaking floor at the venue isn’t as annoying for the players as it is for TV viewers. The noise made the vuvuzelas at the 2010 World Cup look like a lot of fuss about nothing.
But all this is a mere sideshow as we descend into an orgy of self-congratulation with the news that this blog has come fourth in a list of the UK’s top ten general (non-football) sports blogs by Cision, a media research body. The placings are decided according to the “influence” each blog carries.
Ah, fourth. Who wants a place on the medal podium anyway? If I were a Premier League team I’d be heading for Europe now despite finishing 17 points behind the champions.
Well, like Meryl Streep at the Academy Awards, I shall attempt humility, not least because I have seen very few signs of this apparent ‘influence’ even though I’m sure that, right now, Barry Hearn is pouring over every word.
If he is, please have someone look at that floor, Barry. It sounds like it might give way at any moment.