Fu Shocks Selby

Wednesday served up a day of shocks as both the world number one and two were sent crashing at the second round of the UK Championship in York.

A pair of surprise 6-3 defeats were the undoing of Shanghai Masters champion Mark Selby and German Masters winner Mark Williams.

Selby had come into this evening’s session knowing that the star names had began to crumble over the last couple of days.

Rivals Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins suffered losses yesterday while the Leicester man already knew of Williams’ defeat at the hands of Ricky Walden earlier in the afternoon.

Whether Selby felt the pressure of being the clear favourite for the title or he simply had an off day at the office, Marco Fu beat the world’s best to advance to the quarter-finals.

In a scrappy affair, the Hong Kong player opened up a two frame advantage early on but Selby seemed to have settled when he levelled at 2-2 before the interval, aided by a century break of 102.

However, the match continued without much fluency after the mid-session break and, when former runner-up Fu snatched the eighth frame on the black to go 5-3 ahead, the writing was on the wall.

The result was the final one of a day that ensures the bottom half of the draw is now wide open.

Ricky Walden had earlier knocked out last year’s beaten finalist Williams quite comfortably in the end.

The Welshman had fought back from 3-0 down to level at three frames apiece but, through some misfortune in the seventh frame when he received an untimely kick coupled with his floaty prowess around the table deserting him, Englishman Walden completed the triumph.

It means that the only two qualifiers to have emerged from round one are now in the last 8 and in with a chance at the business end of the tournament.

Walden will meet Shaun Murphy for a place in the semi-finals after the 2008 champion, beating Fu in that final in a nail-biting decider, withstood an incredible fight back from Martin Gould to eventually prevail 6-4.

Former world champion Murphy had raced into a 5-0 lead, cueing majestically along the way, in a repeat of their PTC Grand Final last season.

Yet, Power Snooker champion Gould suddenly found form, compiled a brace of ton breaks and reduced the gap to a single frame in front of a now visibly nervous Murphy.

In a tight tenth frame that ebbed and flowed both ways, Murphy finally cleared to the pink to thankfully seal the win.

Finally, Fu has the challenge of facing man of the moment Mark Allen in his quarter-final tie.

Northern Ireland’s Allen has been the hot topic of discussion this week following his controversial blast at snooker supremo Barry Hearn.

But the 25 year-old looked in ominously dangerous form as he swept aside an out-of-sorts Ali Carter 6-2 to march into the next round.

Allen is arguably the best player on the circuit at the moment who is yet to claim a ranking event title – indeed, he has failed to make it past the semi-final stage on five occasions as well as the last four at The Masters.

So it will be interesting to see if the former world amateur champion can maintain his high performances as we approach the weekend.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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