The two Betfair German Masters semi-finals yesterday weren’t exactly classics but Ali Carter and Marco Fu need not care because they will contest the final today.
The Tempodrom was packed but the standard was not as consistently high as the vast crowd were hoping. Then again, semi-finals are often tense, edgy affairs with a big prize of a final place in sight.
The big surprise for me was how poorly Neil Robertson played. In full flight he is an intimidating presence at the table but his positional play let him down and he seemed to go flat.
Carter won with a highest break of just 46. However, he did pot several crunch balls, including a doubled red to lead 5-1.
He was joined in the final last night by Fu, who beat Barry Hawkins 6-4 in a match in which the general pace of play better suited the Hong Kong cueist, although towards the end he started to score really heavily.
Carter has won two ranking titles, the 2009 Welsh Open and 2010 Shanghai Masters. He has twice been runner-up in the World Championship and was a semi-finalist in the UK Championship two months ago.
He can be a feisty competitor, a player who frequently shows his emotions and in this way the polar opposite of Fu, who invariably keeps them hidden.
Fu’s only ranking title to date is the 2007 Grand Prix but he has since been runner-up in the UK Championship and the Masters.
Fu recently became a father and is hoping to build on personal contentment by hitting another professional high.
He has been let down over the years by inconsistency of performance, which is hard to explain and, I suspect, hard for him to understand.
Let’s hope the final is of a high standard. The audience here in Berlin deserve it because they have played as much a part in making the event a success as the players themselves.