Watching the Round 1 match between Luca Brecel and Gary Wilson this year just took me back to the World Championship in 2017 where a similar sort of match occurred between Marco Fu and Luca Brecel – again, in the first round.
Much like the match against Wilson, Brecel’s match against Fu went right down to the wire – the main difference being that Brecel was 7-1 up against Fu, as opposed to being 5-4 and 7-5 up against Wilson. What could possibly go wrong, right?
I should preface this by saying that I am a huge Marco Fu fan. He is one of my favourite players on and off the table. So, seeing him go 7-1, then 7-2 down at the end of the first session was quite difficult to watch, despite how well Brecel was playing. I almost didn’t end up watching the next session because I figured, ‘what’s the point?’ But fortunately, I did.
Fu had to win at least 3 of the first 4 frames at the very minimum to keep himself in the match. Displaying his typical traits of class, resolve and ability to compile breaks, Fu did exactly this. Following the interval, Fu levelled at 8-8. I mean, he showed this comeback fight against John Higgins in the Scottish Open in 2016, so if anyone could turn around a 7-1 deficit, Fu would definitely be a top contender.
Brecel managed to take himself within one frame of victory but unfortunately, wasn’t able to clinch the match – although he did have his chances. A shot that stuck out in my memory is a brilliant cushion-first shot that Fu played to pot a red in such a high pressure situation where he could have easily fouled and left the entire table on for Brecel.
Nevertheless, Fu did end up winning the match and securing a place in Round 2 and if you have watched this match (which I highly urge you do), you have no idea how much more drama there was in Fu’s second round match against Neil Robertson that year.