Finals

Marco Fu Finally Finds Overdue Form

Marco Fu emerged victorious 9-4 in the Scottish Open on Sunday, with a stunning turnaround against home favourite John Higgins in Glasgow.

marco-fu-scottish-open-ws

Fu was presented the trophy by seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry. Photo credit: World Snooker

It appeared as though Higgins was going to romp to a 29th ranking event crown, which would have taken him alone in second place in the all-time list.

The 41 year-old compiled three tons and a break of 78, which should have really been another century, to lead 4-1.

However, Higgins failed to win another frame as Fu gradually gained control of the affair for an ultimately resounding success.

Glory for the 38 year-old might have come as a surprise to some, particularly following the impressive start from his opponent, but this success underlined the quality that Fu has possessed throughout his almost two decade career.

When the Hong Konger burst onto the scene in 1998 with a run to the final of the then prestigious Grand Prix, having the year before triumphed in the IBSF World Championships at both senior and under-21 level, commentators predicted a star of the future was born and someone who could perhaps dominate at the top for a long period.

For one reason or another that never quite materialised for Fu and the early part of his career had mostly been a disappointment for around the first ten years.

In 2006, he narrowly missed out on a place in the World Championship final when he was defeated in a thrilling decider with Peter Ebdon at the Crucible.

A year later, he finally joined the ranking event winners club – ironically again at the Grand Prix where he previously had promised so much.

Narrow misses in finals of the UK Championship and the Masters followed before a second ranking trophy was collected at the Australian Open in 2013.

That the Scottish Open marks only his third tournament victory of this status will represent a disappointing return is testament to the talent he has always possessed.

At the Emirates Arena, Fu compiled 11 centuries en route to lifting the Stephen Hendry Trophy, a number which perhaps shocked many.

Yet, the former world no.6 has always been a prolific scorer, highlighted by the fact that he is seventh on the all-time list with 426 tons to his name.

Fu has been dogged by inconsistency woes throughout his career, which is obviously one of the primary reasons why he has failed to win more events.

It has also been common for critics to present him with the unwanted label of not possessing a big-match mentality.

A missed green that would have dispatched Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last four of the recent UK Championship in York probably bolstered that argument.

But there can be no qualms with the manner of his comeback conquering of a legend such as Higgins, who is arguably in the form of his life.

Fu, who has always been the epitome of fit and healthy, is at an age where there is still plenty of time for him to strengthen his CV with further titles.

Whether he can finally find the level of consistency necessary in order to do so remains to be seen.

For Higgins, it will be a disappointing climax to an otherwise fantastic end to 2016 after his brace of invitational triumphs in November, not to forget his 147 break in the Northern Ireland Open.

The Scottish Open ended on a high with a deserving champion, but overall it was a forgettable tournament with poor crowds and a distinct lack of an atmosphere throughout.

The Home Nations series, of which this was the third event out of four, has been a strong new initiative which has brought snooker back to some major cities around Britain and Ireland.

But more effort still needs to be made, at home and abroad, to ensure that suitable venues are chosen and subsequently that proper promotion is marketed.

The influx of new events and the increase in prize money is fantastic, but it’s crucial not to overlook the obvious advertisement for the game on television and online of viewers seeing bums on seats inside arenas.

Regardless, the Scottish Open concluded what was another busy and entertaining calendar year in the sport, with no more tournaments scheduled between now and the New Year.

For Marco Fu, the festive period will certainly be a happy one.

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