Mighty Max for Fu

Marco Fu got in on the 147 action during the final round of the World Open qualifiers today after knocking in the break during his 5-2 victory over Matthew Selt.

It is the Hong Kong native’s second maximum, coming twelve years after his first against Ken Doherty at the 2000 Scottish Open.

The impressive feat also marks the eighth 147 break that we have seen compiled since Mike Dunn started the streak near the end of November.

Although the perfect frame is still regarded as a magnificent achievement – and that is the way it should be seen – it is fair to say that a147 nowadays is devalued in comparison to one constructed maybe ten or fifteen years ago.

That is not to say that Fu should not be applauded for his efforts, but that the regularity of the accomplishment in the sport these days ensures that the shock value when it does occur becomes less and less.

This is indeed a shame because in any sport the fans want to be able to shout louder for the impossible, gain sweaty hands, shift forward onto the edge of their seat or hide behind the cushions in anticipation of something that doesn’t come along too often. It is what dramatic and exciting sport is all about.

There have been some calls for the pockets to be tightened slightly or a different cloth to be used so as not to allow such a smooth transition into the angle when close to a cushion and maybe these options can be looked at in the future.

But the simple explanation for the general increase in the amount of maximums made is the fact that the players are playing more regularly and have become match fit.

All the professionals are superb cueists and the upsurge in the number of events has allowed players to perform with a freer confidence while on stage, where in the past, with fewer tournaments, this may not have been possible.

Anyway, congratulations to Fu and he will probably be more pleased about the fact that he qualified for the event in China at any rate.

In the other encounters, the performance of the day arguably goes to 23 year-old Sam Baird who completed his run from the very first stage of qualifying by edging Top 16 nearly man Mark Davis 5-4.

Englishman Baird is many people’s pick to emerge from the pack of hot young prospects either this year or in coming years and he has certainly shown his ability this week with victories over the likes of Luca Brecel, Liu Chuang and Jimmy White.

There were actually quite a few deciding frame thrillers with Mark King, Dominic Dale, Tom Ford and Barry Hawkins all booking their flights to the Far East with tense triumphs while, on the other hand, Robert Milkins whitewashed Ryan Day 5-0.

Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien was also involved in a thriller having come from 4-0 down to tie his match with Nigel Bond at 4-4 only to see his English opponent regain his composure in the last to ultimately inflict the loss on the Dubliner.

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry put the disappointment of missing out on the PTC Grand Finals by a single frame behind him with a comfortable 5-2 defeat of Mike Dunn, continuing his resurgence in form in recent weeks.

The Scot’s countryman Marcus Campbell came from 3-0 behind to oust Alfie Burden 5-3, Jimmy Robertson beat Rory McLeod by the same scoreline and Jamie Cope beat namesake Jamie Burnett 5-1.

Late in the day, Andrew Higginson ruined Yu Delu’s dream of returning for his home event in China with a 5-3 result that was matched by Michael Holt in his clash with former world champion Peter Ebdon.

Finally, Joe Perry comfortably saw off Anthony Hamilton 5-1 while Ricky Walden won the last three frames to pip Gerard Greene of Northern Ireland 5-4.

All the results from Group Two can be viewed by clicking here.

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