There’s a new rising star in the snooker scene as 14 year-old Lu Haotian of China upset established pro Marco Fu in the wildcard round of the Shanghai Masters this morning.
Lu made a name for himself earlier in the summer when he became the youngest ever player to lift the World Under-21 amateur title but this result will have elevated him up to an even higher level.
The teenager had come close to causing major upsets in 2012 already when twice against Tom Ford he came to within a frame of a landmark triumph.
And it looked as though the young prodigy would have to wait another while before his breakthrough when Fu, who was runner-up in last week’s UKPTC3 event in Gloucester, established an early 3-0 advantage.
However, Lu fought back to claim the next four frames and, despite Fu being able to force a decider with a 124 century break, China’s new sensation was not to be denied as a cool 76 in the decider ensured a last 32 match-up with World Open champion Mark Allen.
Ding Junhui has been China’s overwhelming star for the last seven years and although some fresh faces have emerged, none have been able to consistently take on the mantle of joining the two-time UK winner in the higher echelons of the sport.
With Lu’s success in the World Under-21s he should be guaranteed a place on the Main Tour for next season and who knows how far and how quickly his rise could be.
Experience has made us realise not to put too much pressure on the younger generation as Judd Trump and Luca Brecel will testify to – both finding it difficult to reach their potential in their initial years on the circuit – but it is hard not to feel excited about a fresh prospect from the Far East.
Elsewhere in the wildcard round, 55 year-old Steve Davis had more than enough to see off Zhu Yinghui 5-1 and will meet Wuxi Classic champion Ricky Walden for a place in the last 16 while Welshmen Ryan Day and Jamie Jones comfortably eased past Wang Yuchen and Lu Ning respectively.
Robert Milkins was made to work harder for his victory but managed to pip Zhou Yuelong in a decider while Mark King defeated Zhao Xintong 5-3 to ensure that only one amateur spoiled proceedings.
There were two matches in the first round proper as Mark Williams, last year’s beaten finalist in somewhat controversial circumstances some may remember, thrashed Mark Davis 5-1.
Williams had led Mark Selby 9-7 in the 2011 final when a contested decision from referee Eirian Williams on whether a Selby escape from a snooker hit a red or pink ball went in favour of the Leicester man, who duly went on to win 10-9.
Williams’ countryman Matthew Stevens didn’t fare as well, though, and went down 5-2 to England’s Joe Perry.
The full draw and results can be viewed by clicking here.