MARCO Fu fought off a strong comeback from Welshman Matthew Stevens to secure a place in the second round of the World Championship.
Leading 6-3 at the start of this afternoon’s final session, Fu made a dream start to proceedings taking the first two frames to edge closer to victory with a significant 8-3 lead.
Stevens, who reached the final of the World Open earlier this year, got a much-needed frame on the board with a clearance of 65 but Fu hit back to be on the verge of victory leading 9-4.
And Fu was forced to play the waiting game as Stevens threatened a comeback winning the next frame on the colours before dominated the next two with runs of 40, 65 and 53 to close to 9-7.
But Stevens’ efforts were left in vain when he left the final blue on deep in frame 17 which lasted more than 50 minutes. Fu made no mistake with the blue and a superb positional shot from pink to black secured the qualifier an impressive win.
After the game Fu told the world’s media he was happy to come through a difficult finish. His next opponent will be world number three Judd Trump.
“I was just waiting for a chance to seal it but I was missing easy shots and Matthew started to play a little bit better towards the end,” Marco said. “It gave me a bit of pressure but I still felt quite comfortable.
“Physically I wasn’t quite there today, I was a bit tired towards the end so it was never going to be easy to close the match. I missed a couple of golden chances to kill it off and it could have been costly but fortunately I got over the line in the end.”
Elsewhere, snooker’s big guns of Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Trump recorded solid wins through to the last 16 stage of this year’s World Championship.
World number one Selby, who is chasing the triple crown after winning the UK Championship and Masters ealier this season, was in cruise control as he beat Matthew Selt 10-4 despite not hitting top gear. Selby will face Barry Hawkins in the next round.
China’s Ding Junhui increased his chances of landing his first World Championship title seeing off Scotland’s Alan McManus 10-5 and Trump, runner-up at the Crucible in 2011, was never in danger as he sealed a 10-5 win against Dominic Dale.
And Australian Neil Robertson began his bid to win a second world title in impressive style as a break of 143 – the highest of the competition so far – helped him to 5-2 lead.
But Milkins fought back at the end of the session winning the final two frames of the session to go overnight just trailing by one at 5-4 down. The match resumes to a finish tomorrow afternoon from 1pm.
The day’s other game saw a tough debut for Sam Baird as he took on Premier League champion Stuart Bingham. It was a session to forget for Baird as he lost eight of the nine frames played leaving him in serious trouble at 8-1 down.
With a huge deficit Baird will have to produce something extremely special if he is to win when they resume on Thursday evening.