Semi-Final: Marco Fu v Ronnie O'Sullivan Masters Snooker

Semi-Final: Marco Fu v Ronnie O'Sullivan

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Good afternoon. What a week it's been here at Alexandra Palace. This


Dafabet Masters has given us 20 centuries, four fabulous final frame


deciders, startling one-sided matches as well, and it's also seen


the exit of the world number one, Mark Selby. And with it, the chance


of a Selby slam of snooker majors. But, what a weekend of sport it's


left us with, with all eyes on these guys in the semi-finals.


We are both under pressure in the semi-final of the Masters. I'm


really looking forward to hopefully another great match. I played every


ball as if it was so important to the end and see what the result is.


It will be difficult playing a good friend. Sometimes it creates a


scrappy game. Hopefully if I play well, it doesn't go scrappy. He


hasn't got any weaknesses. Everyone knows how good he is. I'm going to


try to be better than he is. It's going to be fantastic.


Two cracking semi-finals Steve. Let's talk about the one this


evening, Barry Hawkins against Joe Perry, what about their progress in


the tournament? Barry is in Masters winning form. He did a job on Mark


Selby. He said it was one of his best matches. He seems to be in


great form. As for Joe Perry, he's come here with the, I'm not playing


well attitude, two great results, in the semi-final? He's in Masters


winning form. He's playing fantastic form, he must fancy the job, best


form of his life. And this afternoon we've got a wonderful occasion,


atmosphere. Marco Fu at 39 playing at his best in his career. He's in


Masters winning form. LAUGHTER.


Marco Fu is in the best form of his life! He put paid to Judd Trump,


that was astonishing. The interesting thing is, all of a


sudden, you've got three players in great form, but they are not tried


and tested winners of major events. One of the players still left in the


event, even though he may not be in the best form of his life, is a


tried and tested winner and Thai got to beat the master in his backyard.


Thank you very much for that, Steve. Hazel, all yours.


The view looks good. By the way, you are in the form of your life today,


Mr Davis, I must say! We've got Joe and we have got his


best friend in the semi-final this evening. I think crowd loyalties


will be rather split between these two Englishmen this evening. You can


bet there are an awful lot of Ronnie fans in this afternoon that's for


sure, they know the rocket is on a trajectory that could land him an


outright record seventh Masters title. He owns the record at sixth


with a certain Stephen Hendry. This is the snooker where he's been at


his best. He was 19 in 1995. Ronnie is our defending champion


this year of course. But he's also been runner-up five times as well.


Today he's bidding for an extraordinary 12th final. The man


who is aiming to knock him off course today is playing some of the


best snooker of his career, Hong Kong's Marco Fu.


I've been in semisin the Masters a couple of times in the past. It's


nice to be able to do it again. I've played quite well since the UK


Championships and have good form brought here with me. It's not going


to be easy. It's nice to be able to play good snooker against the top


eight. It's a great feeling that everything seems to be working


together. I played Jimmy, Ronnie, in the past, in the Masters and


everyone knows what the atmosphere will be like. He's under pressure as


well from expectations from the crowd and I'm under pressure because


I need to play the player and Mrs Play the crowd. We are under


pressure. Doesn't get much bigger than that. I'm looking forward to


hopefully a great match. Marco's won eight out of their 22 previous


matches. It was only about five weeks ago that O'Sullivan and Fu


faced each other in the semi-final of another of snooker's majors, the


UK Championship in York. That went to a decider by the Englishman. The


Hong Kong player has since embarked on a magnificent run, winning the


Scottish Open and producing immaculate snooker here. He's the


highest ranked player at number eight at Ali pale. This is worthy of


a final itself. -- Ali Pally. Nice shirt, Denis, are


you back on Strictly Come Dancing? ! Marco Fu is 39, playing the best


snooker of his career. This is a magnificently big occasion today,


will he cope with it? It is and this crowd have taken to the man from


Hong Kong, especially the way he played against Judd Trump. That


match was incredible. He made three century breaks and a string of other


breaks. Judd played out of his skin and lost. He's got to produce that


sort of form against Ronnie if he's going to have a chance. The thing


with him is his demeanour's changed. His walking around with his chest


back and looking confident in his own ability? He's working with Terry


Griffith's son Wayne who's moved out to Hong Kong, they work together,


and that's a big help to him. Always been a really nice lad but he isn't


half producing some fabulous snooker. He'll have to do it against


Ronnie O'Sullivan. Jealous, Stephen? Of playing here, absolutely! It will


be interesting. If you go on form, Marco is favourite. But Ronnie's got


previous in this tournament. What I've been impressed with with Ronnie


is his will to win. He's not been at his best but every match he's trying


his hardest. We talk about scoring, Ronnie's highest break was still


only 68 so that's got to improve? Absolutely. We know he can turn it


on at any stage. What better stage today to do it. OK boys, interesting


to hear from you this afternoon. Rob Walker let's get it under way.


Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Saturday's


Snooker Masters, what an occasion and atmosphere here in this famous


old arena. We are ready to rock'n'roll this afternoon Al


Alexandra Palace. APPLAUSE.


CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. Please welcome a player who, after


19 years as a pro is producing the best snooker of his career so far,


beating Higgins last month to land the Scottish Open and this week he's


beaten both Trump and Allen to earn a second Masters semi-final, will


the magic come forth once again from the man from Hong Kong, Marco Fu!


And his opponent, who first won this title in 1995. For more than two


decades, he's been snooker's box office draw, six times a Masters


champion, five times a champion of the world, the Rocket, Ronnie


O'Sullivan! Marco Fu runner-up in the Masters


event six years ago. Can he win? Can he earn his passport through to


another final? He's going to have to cope with Ronnie and a partisan


crowd today. This is Ronnie's 13th Masters final, only ever lost one


before. Best of 11. To sort it all out, Stephen and Denis, we are


waiting for you. Good afternoon! APPLAUSE.


REFEREE: First frame, Ronnie O'Sullivan to break.


Good afternoon to everyone watching. What a fabulous atmosphere and what


a thrill it must be for both players to walk into the arena to that


reception. It really was special. Can Marco start the match with a


long pot? A couple of loose reds. And he is on


a colour so an early chance. Can he continue playing in the form he


showed us throughout the week, Stephen? Since the UK Championship


when he was a green or brown with the rest away from beating Ronnie in


the semi-final of that event, since then he's Been making a couple of


tweaks. Slightly longer back swing than normal. He's starting to look


the real deal when it comes to these big events, Denis? He's always been


a fantastic player, everyone in snooker knows that, but he'd go


maybe one or two months then disappear. If he keeps playing like


this, he'll be competing at every big event. Nice, aggressive shot.


Might just be OK, you know. Caught the pink half bull instead of pull


bank but the red will go. I think the white might cannon into the pink


here which wouldn't be a bad thing. This is much more difficult the one


he's taking to stay on the black. I thought he might have taken the


other one which was a slightly easier pot. Yes. This was a very


aggressive red to take. Maybe that is his plan, take the game to




Very good shot. The fact he's covered the red near the right


corner and he had the yellow and blue to use as snookering balls.


Played it well. Marco returned the compliment? No, he's playing dead


weight. He's still covered that red near the pocket.


APPLAUSE. Nicely picked out there. A bit of


pressure on the next pot. Certainly opened the reds up. If


this blue goes in, great chance. A bit of pressure on that early on


in the match. Still expected Ronnie to knock that


in, but it is the opening frame. This is a nice opportunity now for


Marco Fu. Maybe taken just a few moments just to calm down. Such a


massive entrance for both players in the semi-final. Plays at his own


pace. Marco turned professional in 1997


and based himself in Scotland. It's no longer there now in


sterling. Used to have some professionals there. He's always


been a big solo practiser. Doesn't practise a lot with others. Used to


have the odd game. He'd never miss. In Canada, he was best out there for


a while. He wants the black available to both


corner pockets. Nice angle. The red directly above the black. You want


to cannon that and play at a decent pace. There is a chance he could


snooker himself. That is why he played it a bit harder.


I've just got a feeling today that it will be a high-scoring match. So


chances like this, taking them at your first opportunity, are going to


be very important. O'Sullivan hasn't been in his best


scoring form this week. You get the feeling it's going to come out


sooner or later. I think it will have to today Denis


for him to beat Marco. Absolutely. The fact he missed that medium


length blue... Is an early worrying sign. Mar coast's going to take full


advantage. He's had two chances in this frame. -- Marco.


Hadronny knocked the long blue in - this is the blue - had he potted


that, I'm sure he will have made a sizeable break. Normally, we are


used to seeing O'Sullivan start so quickly.


So the black is the first frame. Century in the first frame.


He's on 31 centuries so far this season.


We've had 20 centuries so far in this year's Masters. The


We've had 20 centuries so far in this year's Masters. If you want to


get a crowd on your side, I'll tell you what, this is the way to do it.


Oh, he's missed it! He's missed it. Unlucky. Almost.


APPLAUSE. Ronnie missed that blue and that was


the end of the frame. Marco Fu leads 1-0.


This heavy scoring has been the hallmark of mar coast' game of late.


I was totting it up, since the start of the Championship he's knocked in


21 centuries in 17 matches on his way to winning the Scottish Open and


he was on track there for a fifth century of the week. It's


extraordinary the way he just is not missing a great deal at the moment.


He's always been an excellent scorer as you saw there as well, but


there's just something different about him. He has just Blossomed


into a top, top class player ready to win majors. To beat John Higgins


in his own backyard in Scotland is hugely impressive and he looks like


he's full of confidence. When he's amongst the balls, he's looking like


clearing up. You can't put a price on confidence. So many players down


the years have been confidence players, John Higgins on a run is


like that, there is no stopping him? Also your opponent knows you feel


confidence as well, the reality check, who is the Ronnie O'Sullivan


out there because all of a sudden Marco is getting on with it very


quickly. When you are confident, you spend so little time thinking about


the shot, you seem to be able to focus better on what shots to play.


You are not double thinking yourself and that seems to grow confidence as


well. It also puts more pressure on your


opponent. The likes of the blue Ronnie missed, that will get


magnified if Marco keeps making clearances. Back we go.


A bit short of pace with the break off shot.


Marco knocked a similar red in, slightly easier. Can Ronnie avoid


the black? He's not taking the pot on. It's a safety shot. Don't blame


him. He's one of the best tactical


players in the game. That's certainly opened the reds up.


Look at the length of the cue ball. Seem to open up nicely on the cloth.


Playing beautifully all week. Incredible. So confident at the


moment. There was no looking at the shot.


Well, there is an example. Marco Fu was never blessed, whenever that was


a power shot, that was his weakness. He's bringing the cue back a lot


further than he used to. The power he got on that cue ball was


phenomenal. If he dropped this red in, he could


get the black back on to its spot. Clash The black is still going to be


tied up because it's blocked into both corners.


Might have finished awkward for him. He's hampered slightly with the


black to force it up for the blue. Better to get up to the blue if he


can. Maybe the black goes into the left


corner because he was thinking about swerving around the black there,


maybe it does pass that red. He had to power to get to the blue


and the white. Jumped a few times which happens when you are striking


down on the cue ball like that. APPLAUSE.


Well, you can't beat a nice flick. Certainly got one there.


Can make such a difference that. It was a good shot anyway. But to catch


the yellow was a bonus. Caught the red before the pink. A


little bit surprised. He went into those dead weight. Couldn't have


left much. So he took a bit of a risk there, Marco Fu.


APPLAUSE. That kept on rolling and rolling.


APPLAUSE. He's got a decent chance.


What an atmosphere, Denis. Here Al the Alexandra Palace, it's


absolutely packed. The crowds have been fabulous all


week. They are enjoying this. How many will Ronnie make here?


Looks like a practise set up now, doesn't it. Virtually nothing to do


with the cue ball. You shouldn't see the cue ball travel very far at all


in-between shots. I think he's travelled a bit too far that time.


Change of plan, it's the blue or pink now.


Correct side of the blue. APPLAUSE.


I mean once again he travelled too far. He played two or three little


positional shots which is very unlike O'Sullivan and you can see


the frustration. Normally, the cue ball is on a sting when he's around


about the black. A couple of shots ago he had to go for the blue and


there he missed a cannon. He won't play the shot like that. It will be


a foul. You have got to have one toe on the floor. He gave that cushion a


good old rap there. I remember was it Michael Holt did that and did he


break his finger? He


has got to be so careful going between those two reds. He is going


to have to play the safety shot. He wanted really to push the boat out


there. He was so frustrated with that positional shot. I think he has


calmed down and he'll play the correct shot. Still fuming. And this


is where he has been impressive in his first two matches, Dennis. I


know he is fuming with that shot. His temperament has been excellent


this week. Ronnie O'Sullivan 41.


APPLAUSE It was as if he wanted to bite the


tip-off there. I know that was got a gim heed that


long putt from Marco Fu, it was a chance to really rub salt in the


wound if he could get in and win this frame at that visit.


I think he can get past the blue, you know, to the red to come back


down the table. He's going the other side which is a little bit more


risky. There is two reds to avoid. He might drop in behind the green.


He was playing for the cushion. APPLAUSE


It is not a snooker. He can see the one to the left, but if he takes


this pot on and he'll have to do because there is no easy safety


shot. We have seen him miss a blue in the opening frame which cost him


that first frame. Can he knock this one in?


No. I'll tell you what, Stephen said if Marco Fu can punish Ronnie, he'll


still be thinking about that poor positional shot he played when it


looked like he was going to make quite a big break. This wasn't easy.


We're only in the second frail, but this is a massive visit to the table


for Marco Fu. Such a psychological game, snooker,


at the top level. You can put one on your opponent early on.


This is where he just ran a little bit too far and was very annoyed


with himself. Yeah, I think he was trying to play the cannon on the red


to the right. Just cannon the red to the right there as the cue ball goes


past it. Very unlike O'Sullivan. He needs the black back on its spot


in a couple of shots time. The reason I say that is that red that's


on the cushion, it will be a lot easier to get on to the black if it


was sitting on its own spot. Yes, Dennis, it is so important not to


leave that red until last. Because every chance if you don't get on it


properly and then you would have to play safe. I would be playing for it


now. Screw off the side cushion. Well, he is not done. He can play


now this red he's playing now. Finish high on the black and play


for the red on the cushion. It may have travelled too far. No. He's


fine. So this is a shot for the frame, Dennis, you feel. Just has to


drop it in dead weight and give the pocket a chance. We have seen a lot


easier black than this. This is much tougher. So dead weight


will give the pocket a chance and you've got the perfect picture


there. No. No. Now that is quite a big turning point so early on in


this match. Provided Ronnie goes on and takes the frame.


Just a little awkward with the pink sitting on the yellow spot. So he


might even play for the pink this time. A big opportunity missed


though by Marco Fu. If you touch the cushion and you don't usually see


any reaction from Marco, but he knew that was a big shot that he just


missed there. Green, brown and blue will be


enough. Yeah, what it has done by Marco missing that opportunity is


given Ronnie O'Sullivan a chance to forget all about that frame because


he has won it. If Marco wins it, then he still thinks about it.


APPLAUSE Ronnie O'Sullivan just lost his cool


momentarily and he got a chance and he took it.


A A game of real tension already, you can really feel it, Steve. I


don't mind Ronnie O'Sullivan showing anger. It shows he wants to win


desperately and it was tense very early on. Both players making slight


mistakes and the last mistake is always the one that costs you the


frame and it was Marco's. Three bites at this. This is the mistake


that Marco was stewing about. Stephen mentioned on commentary, the


start of a match, those shots can be pivotal and it was one of those


shots you could miss and unfortunately for Marco he has done.


He had a long red in that frame, he nearly hit the wrong side of it.


When Marco is scoring, he a long red and he nearly hit the wrong side of


it and if he had gone 2-0 stewing in his chair, it might have made a


difference. Ronnie has to live with the pressure of expectation all the


time. Most of the time he is a favourite. Marco Fu doesn't have


that on him until he wins the first frame and it looks like he can win


the second and then he's under pressure. That's the fascination of


the game of snooker. Ronnie said having beaten Neil Robertson, he


said, "I have got to accept the fact that I'm not perhaps as clinical as


I once was four or five years ago, but as a pierce competitor, that


remains undimmed." It is difficult to square that your competitiveness


is still as sharp and you know your form won't reach those great heights


again? Especially if the thing that inspires you is playing wonderful


snooker and that's the thing that drives you forward because the


frustration of not playing to the levels that you think you want to be


can be debilitating, but that's probably as you get older that's


what you have got to suffer. There is one incident Stephen is talking


about Ronnie's cue ball control when he had the three reds on. He could


have played two or three shots and he was annoyed. Yes. He is coming


back in. There is Marco's wife and little Belle. That might be the


youngest of the Fu family with them. But they're here. They're always


there supporting their man and Ronnie is back into the arena as we


head into frame three. Thank you, frame three. Ronnie


O'Sullivan. It has been a fascinating start to


this semifinal. Oh, what was that Marco?


A long way short. Well, maybe he can see enough of that red that's just


to the right of the black to cut it in. The other red is preventing


that. The red the left-side of the table


is a little awkward for the safety shot. You have got to make sure you


don't cannon into this. He may attempt that to get on to the black


as a shot to nothing. No. Just the straightforward up and down safety




An opportunity to drop this red in for the black.


That's Marco's daughter there. Isn't she beautiful?


That's your daddy out there playing. She has just seen herself on the


screen. Yes! Yes, Marco smiling up at his family,


but he has got to get his mind on the job. A semifinal of the Masters,


1-1 against Ronnie O'Sullivan. APPLAUSE


A little bit of a stalemate now that red has gone up the other end of the


table. Not a lot for Ronnie to play. Only just roll into the reds and we


might possibly get a re-rack. Well, what has he spotted here?


Just a gap to get it back to the cushion and played it well.


APPLAUSE It will just take a few shots to


resolve this situation. Yes, as long as the cue ball keeps


going up close to the cushion, there is not a lot you can do. If the cue


ball is away from the cushion you bring the reds back, but even that


shot you're sometimes frightened of knocking a red over one of the


middle pockets. It could be a while here.


It will never catch on this kind of snooker, will it Dennis? It wasn't


your type of frame this. Sometimes they run like that and you get the


balls up the other end of the table. But what does happen when a player


gets in, there is going to be plenty of reds there to score from. Now


that one to the left middle is quite a risky one, but he has had a quick


look at it and he has decided definitely against taking it on, but


that's a bit careless. He has made a complete hash of the safety there.


OK, a little bit unlucky. You never know where the reds are going to


finish, but he didn't get the white where he wanted and now the chance


is there for Marco. Marco Fu has just put himself in a


bit of trouble here. Do you know he might have to play a


safety shot and go up to the black with the cue ball. A golden chance


he let slip there. APPLAUSE


That's what I was saying earlier, when you're bringing the cue ball


back to the cushion, there is always a chance of potting them in the


mid--le pockets. Again, no guarantee where the cue ball is going to end


up. Just make sure they pot. Now, he'll settle for that.


Dle pockets. Again, no guarantee where the cue ball is going to end


up. Just make sure they pot. Now, he'll settle for that. It is not a


gimme this blue, but get this in and an opportunity.


He didn't cue that as smoothly as he did in the first frame. He didn't


get correctly on the red that's why he's having to play this around the


angles. Just overscrewed it slightly. You


want it to be straighter on this brown. It shouldn't be a problem.


He's going to have to pot an awful lot of balls here to get a sizeable


number of points because they're all low valued colours.


He has had a look just to see what's available there and he's way ahead


of himself and he feels that maybe he can drop the blue and he's back


looking at that red to the right of the pink and it looks as if it's on.


That just shows you how far ahead the player is thinking. It is


usually a couple of shots. Very rarely rumour than three shots ahead


of yourself. Four shots. You're just playing the cue ball into an area


each time, but you weigh up the table and you know that it's going


to be there and he had looked at this red about three shots ago.


Didn't get into the cue ball like he wanted. It will be much straighter.


This is now awkward. If he's playing a cannon on the red above the blue,


it will go wrong. No he has natural angle. So a little bit fortunate


there to leave that natural angle. Well, they seem to be all covering


each other the four reds around the pink. He potted seven reds, but he


has only accumulated 34 points because he had to take lower valued


colours. It must be a plant. Just going


slightly to the left-side of the pocket, but he can make that.


APPLAUSE I think it's important for Marco to,


win this frame just to forget that red that he missed along the cushion


that would have given him a 2-0 lead, but he has been blessed with a


terrific temperament also. It was a little bit of an awkward


frame at the start with the reds going up the other end of the table.


And in the end, Ronnie getting back to the black. Well, he did do, but


he left one in the middle. That's the frame now.


The best of 11. The interval still after four frames.


Daddy is clearing up. That's his wife Shirley that's there


and their daughter. Almost made a century in the opening


frame. He has got another chance here.


I just noticed that Ronnie is looking at the tup of his cue there.


I know he made a gesture as if he was going to bite the tip-off, but I


think that was a bit of frustration. So normal play resumes you would


have to say from Marco Fu. This is great stuff. Off, but I think that


was a bit of frustration. So normal play resumes you would have to say


from Marco Fu. This is great stuff. Yes, he is looking very composed




Absolutely terrific stuff from the man from Hong Kong.


Marco leads by 2-1. Ronnie has left the arena. I'm just


wondering if there is a problem with the tip.


Ronnie's tip of the cue has indeed split and there is now talk about


having to replace it. Paul Collier is on stand-by to do so. There was


talk about trying to take the interval early, but we're not sure


if that's going to happen. This is unfortunate from his prospective.


Marco is leaving the arena and he has been told. You get a period of


grace, how long, 15 minutes? I'm not sure. But it is a reasonable amount


of time to put another tip on and repair it and have a couple of hits


on the practise table, but the discussion seems to be around


whether the interval is taken now from the crowd's prospective or you


have one stop after three frames and then another stop after another


frame. I don't know what's going to happen. Rob Walker is making an


announcement and it looks like we are taking the break now. Has he


brought an old tip with him? What's the implication?


It's massive. It's difficult to play screw and stun shots with it. If you


have one that's already been played on, taken off a cue and put on the


end, it's basically like what you have taken off. That's the problem


he's got with it. Hopefully he's been a bit experienced enough to get


a few from the club and he'll be able to put one on. We are going to


take the interval a frame early. And John, you've discussed this, we saw


him slightly uneasy with his cue and you chatted with him? He said the


tip was hard. He said he's not happy with it. It can happen. I've had


tips on cues, you have played with them for ages and they haven't gone


hard. Sometimes you don't know what you are going to get. This was a


situation with Mark Williams at the Crucible last year. He got to the


quarter-final and it was looking for all world like he was going to do


some damage and the night before he played, the tip came off and he


wasn't the same player, it had such a fundamental impact. For anybody


that doesn't know, a tip is a piece of leather stuck on the end of cue


and with the chalk it gives the grip to the ball, otherwise it would slip


off. Leather seems to be the perfect thing, they've never invented


anything better. It's possible that the sides are vulnerable to


splitting, if you play a shot with a side spin, you are hitting the edge


of the tip, they are put under severe pressure. So a lot of the


American pool players are for ever polishing the sides of the tip to


strengthen them up as much as possible. Most of the snooker


players play with a brand of tip that's not so easy to buff up to


such levels sostrengthen it up so they are always vulnerable. How does


it impact your performance if you were to continue to play with it in


that state? Possibly it doesn't but it's in the mind. I've played


matches where I've gotten away with it, I've played where it's been near


the end and certain shots haven't got any impact. I was taught a


lesson when I had a broken tip here. Sometimes a small chunk will come


out and it's the part where you will contact the tip when playing screw


backs, so what you can do, if you are clump enough, you can take the


tip off, turn it 180 degrees and put it back on again. But it's tough


because the tip is the same size. Putting a new tip on, you are


playing with an unknown quantity. You are fiendish, Mr Davis,


fiendish! Ronnie has admitted he's ridden his luck here in the Masters


so far because obviously survived that twitchy black in the pen


ultimate frame. He had three massive slices of luck, flukes against Neil


Robertson, came through that and, as he says, he's ridden his luck but


he's such a fierce competitor. He joked about dragging everyone down


to his level. That's hard to believe. But he's still punching and


fighting and he's he'd a lot more to say to John Parrot earlier. You seem


a lot more level headed about your own level of performances at the


moment. It's easy for you to accept isn't it? Yes, I've worked hard on


that in the last five years, if there was a weakness it was the


mental side. I'm tough, I got down on myself a lot though and that's


cost me a lot of tournaments over the years. Since working with Steve


Peters, I've had to work on that and that's probably the most important


thing for me to work on, the game when it comes easy to me is easy but


I struggle like everyone else. You have to put the work in. Working on


my mental skills has been the massive turnaround in why I've


played so well in the last five years. You seem to have surrounded


yourself with good people. I've had a few undesirables there, you know,


but that's made me appreciate the really good friends that I've got


and I used to think that I had loads of friends but maybe I think now I


have about four. They're four proper, proper friends, I don't


really want any more. I used to have a dressing room full in the Crucible


because I wanted to please everybody but now I think, you know what, it


ain't happening. So I feel better for it. It's nice that you can enjoy


each other's company a bit more when it's intimate. I'm lucky. Are you


happy in your home life as well reflecting in the way you are


playing? I don't know, listen, I've just gotten so used to my life being


all over the gaff since maybe 17, 18. I now just kind of, as long as


I've got my cue, a shirt on my back and a bit of money on my debit card,


I'm all right. I'm back at my mums, I have an empty flat up the road,


there is all sorts of stuff the last ten years, but do you know what,


it's made me realise that I don't get attached to things now, I


just... It's sad in a way because I really should feel like I've got


something to play or live for but I just don't, I think as long as I've


got my cue, play snooker, go here and there, I'm a bit of a vagabond


really. Happy with your lot though? As long as I'm healthy, go to the


gym, keep fit, eat good food. I'm sure as long as I stay on the right


path, someone will always take care of me and look after me until the


day I drop dead. I hope that's not any time soon.


It's the rocket, Ronnie O'Sullivan. This tournament going back to the


Masters, must be a very special event with you being a local boy as


well? Yes, it's a tough event. If you are playing well and you have


the crowd behind you, it's amazing to feed off of them. You feel like


you are letting them down if you don't win. They know I give my best


and try my best. I'm appreciative of all the support I get, but


especially here in London, they get behind you. You know what it was


like for Jimmy when he was playing in his day. Yes. It's not easy to


have that following and try to deliver every time. The big event,


we talk about the Grand Slam, are you bothered more about your record


now or not? You would still like to win, but you are not saying, I would


like to have seven or eight? No, no, I would like to take any tournament


to be honest but the big ones, you know, the UK, the world and Masters,


they are like everybody wants their hands on those. I don't think I'm at


the stage where I could be picky and choosy and put all the eggs in one


basket. There are a few who could do that now in their prime but for me


it's about competing. I love the events, being around the snooker


crowd and the snooker family, if you like. In some ways, it's been


disappointing because I like to do some stuff with the pun didry and I


love hanging around the venue. I love to have something to do at the


venue, so I haven't been able to do that this week so I'm trying to


enjoy every day and appreciate that I'm still able to play a few


matches. Final question - you can still win this can't you?


Absolutely. I think my form would have to improve but I've won enough


tournaments where my game's up at a certain stage, something can click


and you can be flying, so I always have the game being fickle and why


shouldn't I be able to find form. I've had a great week, it would be


great if I could lift up a bit of that Waterford Tony Martin crystal.


He's going to need his patience and everything to cope with this


situation. -- Waterford Crystal. We have taken the international


early so Ronnie can get his tip fixed.


Another two Englishmen, two of snooker's hardy annuals if you like,


two best friends actually going toe-to-toe. Barry Hawkins, last


year's runner up, he's going to play 42-year-old Joe Perry who has been


in the game for 26 years and has at last made it through the last four


in this event. Maybe the writing is on the wall for Joe or on the page


for him this year. The writing here shows a good


rhythm, rhythm is about reasonable consistency without monotony and


people who have rhythm are usually able to cope in a crisis so if this


person is up and pushed into a corner, they are most times able to


cope. It's very large writing. The top of the writing to the bottom is


about 15mm and that is a sign of somebody who definitely needs


recognition. The middle zone, which is about the here and now, the


social side, is 5mm and averages close to 3mm so again, a positive


personality. You have somebody generally optimistic, friendly,


reasonably strong will power. The difficulty them is that they can


sometimes downgrade the likelihood of risk and difficulty that they are


facing, so they have to be careful not to throw themselves into the


game trusting themselves too much without assessing genuine chance of


success. When you have writing which is relatively released like this, as


opposed to tight and contracted, it's somebody who is prepared to


have a go, have a bit of a risk. So it's very important that the other


aspect of his writing comes into play, which is the close letters. If


you look at the red ah arrows, they're close to the point of even


touching. When you have close writing, it's somebody who is


worried about making a mistake and slightly pulling themselves back.


Look at this huge signature. 75mm. Absolutely vast. When you have a


very large signature in comparison to the text, it's somebody who


really does enjoy public life. So that idea of performing on public


television, they want to overshadow the competition, no doubt, but the


issue with a large signature like this is that their identity depends


on the approval of other people. So the problem could be that they might


lose their self-possession if they're criticised strongly. But


what I do like about this writing is these pyramid structures. Look at


how the letters are formed. There is a nice angled structure which is a


sign of stubbornness. Here is somebody with all these issues can


come through and fight their corner. Fascinating stuff. I think he's


probably got Joe to a fairly large degree there. Positive personality.


Willing to have a go. Dislikes criticism. Worried about a few


mistakes. Just like any of us. Covers snooker players in general.


Joe has a big match against Barry tonight. What will be fascinating is


that it could be a very big weekend for the Griffiths family. Father and


son might be pitted against one another in tomorrow's final because


Joe playing Barry who is coached by Terry Griffiths, a 1979 world


champion of course and Terry's son Wayne is the man who's been


responsible for a real leap in performance of Marco Fu. He works


out in Hong Kong with him and what a difference he's made to this man's


game. A coach can help a player to have


the best preparation for a match. When you are out playing in a match,


you are on your own. The best coach can't help you any more. But


behind-the-scenes, before you go into a match, you go through all the


practise routines and the checklists technically. The coach can actually


spot some of the things that you do right or wrong. Very, very tiny


things, but very, very important things.


We are very fortunate to have Wayne working in Hong Kong for us. He's


done a lot of good for my snooker over the years. Most importantly,


he's done a lot for snooker in Hong Kong as well. Ever since he came to


Hong Kong and started working with the squad, the results have improved


dramatically. Wayne helped me to play with more consistency. It's


paid off. I was aiming wrong. My tip was off line. The cue action helped


a lot as well. With the cue action, I used to struggle to play with any


power, now I'm not the most powerful player on the circuit but still I


can play with a little bit more freedom and shot selection-wise, I


can have a lot more choices with the cue action that I have.


Well, Marco mentioned there in that interview a few technical changes


with Wayne. The first one we'll talk about is the fact that he thought


perhaps or Wayne spotted his tip and the butt of the cue weren't on the


line. Let's take the baulk line, a guiding line, put the white on the


brown spot and OK, what Marco Fu is saying that when he lines up on the


shot, the tip of the cue may be in the middle as far as he's concerned


but this exaggerated it. The butt of the cue is not on the line of the


shot. So how on earth would you try then to hit along the baulk line if


this was the case? You would have to try and hook the shot or slice it


one way. So how do you try to actually troubleshoot this yourself


if you don't have a coach? An easy way really is, you have the baulk


line, put the white ball on the brown spot, put the tip of the cue


in line with the shot in the centre of the white ball, drop the cue down


to the edge of the cushion then put two pieces of chalk either side


tight in of the cue. Now all of a sudden get up, go back down again,


drop into the position and check whether that cue is dropping down


between those two pieces of chalk. So you can self-check whether you


are actually getting on exactly the right line or not. The next phase of


that would also be when you actually play the shot, can you deliver the


cue in a straight line without nudging one of the pieces of chalk.


That was the first thing they've been working on. The other thing.


It's a bit unclear from what Marco was saying, he's got a bit more


power. There is a few things, I'm not absolutely sure which one he's


working on, Stephen said he's pulling the cue back further for the


shot. If you have a short pull back to generate the power you have to


explode through the ball. If you give yourself more of a bridge


length and pull the cue back further, even though it's more


difficult to get back to the centre of the ball, you have more time to


accelerate through the ball. I think that's probably what Marco Fu's been


working on. Slightly longer bridge length for the power shots, pull the


cue back a bit further so he's got more time to ram the cue through


like that. Thank you Steve. Marco was always


the classic precision cherry-picker wasn't he? Yes. It was always a


criticism levelled at him albeit it was a brilliant, precise score, he


wasn't perhaps in the power mode. Do you see a difference in the way he's


approaching the game now? There is obviously slightly more shots I've


seen him play. He's potted and skewed back to the baulk area. It's


a massive thing not to have in your game. A lot of players don't have


power and, in some ways, they have to change shot selection to get


around it. To have all the shots in your armoury, what's better than


that. He's talked about the increased feeling of freedom he has.


If you have that, it increases so many options for you? They also


don't have to avoid some of the shots, simple as that. You see


something coming up and think, I fancy this one, you are not


thinking, I can't play this because I don't have the power, now he has.


He's more aggressive, getting more confidence and through that run, he


said at the Scottish Open, I'm slowly developing a winning habit.


For me, John, he's always been an immaculate man in his dress, his


manners and demeanour, but the quality of his play, shoulders back,


he really looks like he believes in himself. I think his demeanour is


one of the things I've noticed about him. Neil Robertson walks around


like a peacock, Marco is exactly that, shoulders back, given off an


aura of, I'm very confident and I'll play well. Don't worry, the other


players will be seeing that. Ronnie is up against it at the moment, not


just at the table, but with the equipment here. We are hearing that


Ronnie is having to apply a brand-new tip to the cue. Now, that


is what you thought he should be desperately trying to avoid at this


point? If he'd have had any old ones he wouldn't be putting a new one on.


He obviously hasn't. If he's good enough to new tip on and play to a


standard good enough to beat Marco Fu, he truly is a genius. As strong


as that? It's incredibly difficult to play. Let me clarify by saying,


if there's anybody that could do it it's possibly him, but 99% of the


others wouldn't be able to. Would Marco view this as a positive? He's


got to blank it, you don't want to think about that and put pressure on


yourself thinking, I'm playing against somebody who shouldn't be


potting all the balls and playing with a tip. Blank it out. There is


one fascinating thing this week, the possibility that still exists that a


new chapter is about to be written in snooker history because, if you


look at the three majors in snooker, there they are, you have got the UK


Championship, the Masters and, of course, the World Championship. The


last time there was a changing of the guard in the outright wins


column of a snooker major was 1999 when a certain Stephen Hendry won a


seventh world title to overtake Steve Davis and Ray Reardon. While


Ronnie shares the honours with Stephen at six, it could be that an


18-year-old wait for a total revision of the rule books could be


upon us. That is a milestone that we could be looking at. Very


significant for the sport? Very much so. Probably might not be seen again


in the history of the sport. You are talking about legends. For Ronnie to


be do it, incredible. Stephen who is in commentary won't be happy with


it. Nevertheless, an amazing achievement from Ronnie who's been


one of the best players, if not the best player I've ever seen. Albeit,


we talked about this last week, he has other things on his mind now,


but the overall picture here from a man who has been chasing the targets


all of his career, to be within touching distance of owning outright


the overall record in a major tournament in your sport, that's


pretty special? Yes. He will play it down and say it's one of those


things, but in the cold light of day he'll be very proud of it. When we


consider what is about to happen when they come back out here, they


are going to have to play, it's best of 11 and Ronnie coming out with


seeds of doubt potentially in the back of his mind. He has no idea.


Will he perhaps have gone for a quick knockabout in the practise


room? Hopefully once the tip is ready to go, he'll give it a few


brushes of chalk and give it a go in the practise room. We can't begin to


tell you how difficulties to come and play with a new tip. He's


probably one of the few people who could do it. Not many could put a


tip on. Joe Swayle maybe he's another one he used to play with a


soft tip. But to play well with a new tip would be some achievement.


Talked about the 16 majors that Stephen Hendry's won, or 18


Stephen's won and 16 for Ronnie. As for Marco Fu's strike rate in


majors, he's been a runner-up in the Masters and the UK, twice been a


semi-finalist at the World Championship. Is this the time that


he can break out and finally become one of the key figures in this


sport? He has always been an absolute top class professional.


Always has been. He's had the game, he's a cherry-picker, takes the odd


reds off. Break-building is phenomenal. Only nine people have


made over 400 centuries in the sport, he's one of them. He's just


been lacking the final ingredient to make the cake exactly what it should


have been. I think confidence is it and he's never played better snooker


than he is now at 39. 22 centuries is great. Since the start of the


Championships, it's an extraordinary strike rate over the last few weeks?


Heaviest scoring as anybody in the game. Nobody would have got as many


as that. Even people winning tournaments. Obviously working with


Wayne is helping him. He's got a very sound technique. The biggest


fact of the lot is the level of confidence he's got. What a


fascinating extra dimension this is to the major semi-final at the


Dafabet Masters, Ronnie Sullivan coming in, brand-new Tipton cue,


show that going to react, how is he going to react to this situation.


Marco is one up. That is the question, how will he


react to that new tip? I'm with John Parrot, if anyone can do it, Ronnie


O'Sullivan can. He seems to be able to just put a new tip on and play


straightaway. Not the sort of thing a player would want but he's pretty


good at doing it, Stephen? Yes. There's been advances in the way


they make tips these days to sort of 15-20 years ago, it used to take me


two, three, four days to knock a tip in. They're made a lot firmer. You


can get grades of how hard the tip is. I had a tip on my cue last year


and could play with it straightaway, it's the way they are made now. Not


quite the drama I think everyone is making out, but still in the


semi-final of a major event, not ideal.


Not going to be hard enough. Come up a little bit short. Difficult to


judge at the best of times. A bit of pressure on whoever put the


tip on! He thought he could take the double


on and wouldn't leave anything, only the red he was trying to double and


he has left it. A bit of a tester, a long pot. Let's see if he can knock


this in and give himself a bit of confidence with the new tip.


APPLAUSE. Judging by the sound that made, that


sounds a little bit on the softer side.


Came up a little bit short but can still plan the Kay none. -- play the


cannon. APPLAUSE.


If he wasn't happy with the tip that was on it, now he finds a tip he is


happy with, he could see a different Ronnie O'Sullivan. He could have a


massive boost of confidence. Just about OK. He can hold the red


to the right of the blue. Surely he can't make a frame-winning


break with a new tip on his cue! You wouldn't put it past him.


That got a terrible contact there. He's still on the black but not as


nicely as he would have been without the kick. Just watch this.


He certainly looks a lot happier around the table, Stephen? No doubt,


more comfortable with the tip that he has now than the one that was on


previously. They mentioned in the studio A his


last match that it was very hard, the tip that was on his cue. The tip


is a little softer, then it gives you more of a feel. That's why a


couple of his positional shots have been going awry.


APPLAUSE Quite remarkable, it has to be said.


Run a little bit too far here on the red, but you wouldn't see it being a


problem. He only made one century so far in this year's Masters.


It's not going to be easy to make a century, certainly with the red on


the left side cushion. And this frame has only been going


just over seven minutes. Everything is going.


APPLAUSE Well, I don't know if he can square


this up and play the double. No double. No century. With a brand-new


tip on his cue he has come in and knocked in a 95.


You just couldn't make it up. How would you like humble pie served?


The boy is a freak! He's a freak of nature. Nobody can do that. That


would have flattened many a lesser player that situation and yet he


seems to almost thrived upon it. More comfortable now than before.


Mentally and psychologically, it has all gone wrong. Stop that. But if it


was in a club and you put a new tip on, you can do that, but you


wouldn't expect it on one of our match tables under the conditions


which we play, but what, as John said, Ronnie O'Sullivan is a


marvellous talent. He adapts very quickly. Within a few shots he got


the feel of the tip, but as Stephen said in comment free, if that tip


beforehand was too hard, they are in my opinion, a too hard tip is worse


than a too soft a tip. He has got more grip. The two of you were


saying just listen to the sound of it. What were you hearing? It is


totally soft. He lost position on the black slightly with the kick and


there was a little shot. They are impossible with a new tip on. He


just floated it in. What happens with a new tip, it hasn't


compressed. It is like a concertino and you need to bang it in with a


few frames until it is compressed enough like he will do for the rest


of its life span. Great adjustment by Ronnie O'Sullivan. Frame five. It


is 2-2. That's a pretty good break off as


well. Can't really take this pot on and


play for the black. It is just the wrong angle for that. He might still


have a go at it. He did manage to get around the back. Good cue ball.


APPLAUSE There is the tools of the trade for


a snooker player. I'm not sure about the lighter what he's going to do


with that! Just maybe burn a few of the fibres


off. He was polishing the side of the tip


so thaw don't see it when you're looking down the cue.


Well, it looks as if he's taking this on.


He may have just held for the pink there so it was worth the risk. OK,


the red is near the pocket, but look at the cueing. He won't be potting


that one, you wouldn't think, but he has to remove it from the pocket. If


he bridges overall these reds, and knocks this in, it will be some


shot. A very tough situation there. He


might just have gotten away with it slightly. He wanted to hit it


full-ball when he hit the cushion. There is a long one. And he can get


on the black. Still a chance for Marco to get back


to work. Obviously he had that interval after the third frame which


wasn't planned. He sat and watched Ronnie win the last frame on one


visit so we will see if that's interrupted Marco's rhythm.


This has developed into quite a good opportunity here for Marco.


Just overscrewed it slightly. He wanted to be straight around that


red. It is closest to the pink. So there is a change of plan.


That's OK with the cue ball there because he has got very little to do


with it. Just drops the blue in and he has a choice of reds for the


listened corner. The left-hand corner.


Well, I think you said at the start of the match Stephen, you will see


quite a few high breaks here. I think your predictions will come


through here. He had a 95 in the previous frame. So it's building up


very nicely this semifinal. It could be a cracker.


He may have to play the second red. The one that is to the left of the


two. I don't know if he's straight enough on the bottom one to fall


through for the black. From that angle it looks like it's


OK. He has followed through. Again, a


couple inches further. He's going to have to cannon that end red. The red


furthest to the right of the bunch. Yes, perfectly played.


APPLAUSE That was the key shot to paving the


way for making a frame-winning break here.


He has judged a couple of those shots, Stephen, those little


cannons, he played them perfectly. A lovely touch. Very economical style.


He is starting to look like a machine when he gets in amongst the


balls. He's in line for the high break


prize. He made a break of 140. He has had five centuries so far this


week. Yes, I think he made 11 or 12 and winning the Scottish Open before


Christmas. He is just turning into a scoring machine. It is the biggest


attribute you can have as a top snooker player to win frames like


this on one visit on a regular basis. And from a psychological


point of view after watching Ronnie winning the last frame on the 95


break with a new tip, this is just what the doctor ordered for Marco


Fu. And also how quickly is he playing? I know it helps when you're


in perfect position every shot. Brilliant.


APPLAUSE Absolutely superb from Marco Fu.


That's the 22nd century so far this week.


You see, look at that. It's not often you see a quicker time than


ron reportings but again down to the fact that he has the cue ball on a


string. Well, it is not down to his coach, originally he was with Wayne


Griffiths. Then he was with Terry Griffiths. He


didn't get that shot selection from Terry. He could beat his own high


break by one point. What an effort. 134.


Made absolutely sure. Marco Fu has just cleared the table with a mag


nift icant break of 141 and he is back in the lead, 3-2.


What a frame of snook thremplt Ronnie got in first. He finished


very, very awkward and had to bridge over a red and just try the safety


shot and mis-hit the safety shot and that was it. Yes, as well as other


things that Marco Fu has got going for him is his temperament, the


circus that went before, finishing a frame early for the interval to do


with Ronnie's tip, Ronnie comes out and makes a 95 and he just calmly


gets down and knocks 141 in, in how long? Seven minutes, eight minutes?


Yes, I said, it was just what the doctor ordered from Marco Fu and I'm


talking about doctors, there is a doctor in the house! That's doctor


Miriam Stoppard. She is a delightful lady. I spent sometime with her. She


was a delight to be with. She has got a lovely smile. Thank you, frame


six. Marco Fu to break. A quality opening red here from


Ronnie O'Sullivan. He had to aim down slightly on the cue ball to


create that angle to get around the back of the black.


He will have enjoyed watching that break from Marco Fu and also he'll


enjoy the challenge of trying to get the better of it.


Maybe enjoy is the wrong word, appreciate, you don't enjoy sitting


in your chair watching an opponent clear up. He will have appreciated


the skill of it. The match with Judd Trump that Marco


had was quite extraordinary, but this is building up to a similar


type of match. Judd had two centuries. A few other really high


breaks, but Marco was awesome. He had three centuries in that match.


He already had two in this. But Ronnie looks a different player, it


has to be said. He certainly feels comfortable with his new tip.


A tough bunch of reds to go into from this angle, but he is one of


the best in the business at picking out the right cannon. It is so easy


to stick on these. When you see that shot again, it is hit perfectly. He


needs to hit the red, the third red, so it pushes it into the bunch. He


could not hit that any better. The three reds above the black, that


one, he has to hit on the right-hand side of it. Any other part of that


red and they don't open. A fantastic shot.


I'll tell you what, it is an absolute pleasure to be sitting and


commentating on this sort of match. It really is fabulous to watch. Look


at the pot success rate. Yes, he looks like he loves this new


tip on the cue, but he will be enjoying this challenge that's up


against him today. Playing a man at the top of his form, as Marco Fu is.


These frames are not lasting very long, are they?


Now, full concentration to see if he can respond with a century break.


You can't beat the high break, that's for certain, but well even if


he doesn't make a century, it doesn't really matter. But a great


response this. Marco can't do anything about it. And this


Alexander palace crowd they are being royally entertained here.


APPLAUSE He might be able to pot the red


that's closest to the black. If not, the cannon. No, it will go.


Well, this is stunning. Absolutely stunning snooker.


In between the yellow and brown. APPLAUSE


A straightforward game. That's another century. Ronnie's


first of the match. And he has made 858 centuries now in his career. Who


is going to bet against him getting to that magical 1,000 centuries?


Wouldn't that be something in a career?


What a response from Ronnie O'Sullivan. Marco Fu made a break of


141. The response was, that superb century, 1222. We're all square.


3-3. I can't wait for more of this! I couldn't agree more. We are


driving on towards what could be a record number of centuries. In the


current format without a wildcard round, the biggest number is 28


centuries made in 2015 and that's the 23rd of the week so far.


Ronnie's second, but what stunning stuff from the two of them and that


141 in the previous frame from Marco Fu beat his own high break of this


week of 140. It just gets better and better. Loving this. I'm still in a


state of shock that he can play with that tip because it is a


manufacturer's tip. He got hold of the cue ball and it is in perfect


position every time. What I would say, even though he is a genius,


that proves that inn a way, a great match, but in a way, you could argue


he has been a bit lucky to pick out of a box of the particular tip he's


using which is an American made tip, which is a cheap and cheerful one,


but most players preferred it and picked a good one out of the box as


opposed to one that was another hard one or a very, very soft one! A


little bit of experience by Paul or Ronnie. You test them and squeeze


them to get a feeling if it is going to be a hard or soft one. You never


really know until you cut down the sides and put it on. And as John was


saying and Stephen were saying there are some tips around that are more


expensive that are actually a lot more guaranteed that the pressure


you're going to get on them. Tipgate aside, the fact that he's respond to


go this challenge says so much about him. That's what sometimes he needs,


isn't it? When you have got as much talent as he is got, some games


comes easy, but he is playing somebody at the top of his game


today and he's enjoying this. And Marco Fu is giving as good as he


gets here. What a match. I open you're enjoying this semifinal of


the Masters. We said this is where we have a final and so it is


proving, one of them will be going through to tomorrow's final? Will it


be Ronnie or the man who has been in the final before, only to be beaten


six years ago, Marco Fu? Back we go. Ronnie O'Sullivan to break.


I'll tell you what Stephen when Marco can go back into the arena


there, he got a fabulous reception from this terrific crowd.


How much quicker can these two players get? Ronnie O'Sullivan just


equalled Marco down to the 16 seconds a shot.


Marco played that red thinking it was the only one that he could leave


possibly and missed it and how often does that happen?


Well, one red, one black, Dennis, what do you think? You are naughty,


Stephen! Well, in practise or in exhibition


you play the right-hand side of those two reds and brush off the


pack for the black. Still part of this shot. Yes, he has done.


APPLAUSE Concentrating on the frame. Yes, the


crowd... Thank you, let's have a lull, please. Ronnie, even Marco was


smiling. Ronnie, as all players, the main concern is the frame. That's


nice to see. Of course, he made that maximum


break on 13 occasions, just overtook your record, Stephen, 12 you made.


Never been in front in the semi-final. Time to take the lead?


We didn't see that coming. It was just a little bit of a distraction


with that red there having to bridge over it that caused my opinion to


miss that. That's the only reason I can think of why he missed the


black. Loose red to the right of the bunch.


Big target if you wanted to go into them and really open things up.


Another big moment in this match. So often a deciding factor in these


matches are, not the frames that you should win, it's the frames that you


shouldn't, the ones that you can pinch. Such a fine line between


winning and losing when both players are playing so well.


He's just finished a little awkward. He took the opportunity to open more


of the reds up there. Just having to stretch quite a bit here.


A little straighter on the black than he would have liked but that


shouldn't be a problem. So important, this red. This clears


everything. No excuses now not to win the frame at this visit from


Marco Fu. He doesn't want to be playing a


cannon because they are all available.


Rather than forcing that in... Next to the pink.


This would be quite a frame to pinch for Marco here.


Caught Ronnie shaking his head there. He knows at this standard he


can't afford any mistakes. We showed you the shot of Ronnie


bridging over the red a little awkwardly. This was the one.


You don't see him shake his head very often. But he knows Marco's not


going to miss. He's thinking very clearly at the moment, is Marco Fu.


So composed Marco Fu. Just blue to make absolutely certain and it's


straightforward. You just can't make a mistake in


this game the way these boys are playing. Another fabulous frame of


snooker. Ronnie O'Sullivan after 47 finished a little bit, missed the


black and that was the end of it. Marco Fu with that lead is back in


with it. Such a calm, confident air about this man. This is really one


of the great matches that we've seen isn't it? It is. The thing is, you


expected Marco to clear up. I mean, I just felt that, you know, I wasn't


looking for, where is he going to crack or feel he's under pressure.


At the moment he seems impervious to the pressure. Earlier on when his


wife and young daughter came in the room, he's confident enough and


relaxed enough to just have a chat during the game. Can you imagine


doing that? ! That is interesting. That is his elder daughter, Belle,


Amelia is outside playing, I believe and Shirley just flew in from Hong


Kong so he hasn't seen them for a while. So to be able to say hi, how


are you doing, then to carry on is great, but a tough one for Ronnie


1234 sn As Stephen said, it's winning the frames you shouldn't


win. Ronnie had a difficult shot. Missed it there, but you can't


always think all the balls are going to go after that. But Marco, I agree


with Steve, will get the balls in. His composure to think clearly when


the pressure is on? The cue ball doesn't move anywhere, he's so tight


into the next ball! It's Fu back in the lead at 4-3.


Both players are getting the breakoff pot and getting the white


close to the cushion meaning it's a difficult pot. If you are away from


the cushion, it's slightly easier. Looks quite a thin snick this, but


maybe it's OK. A bit too pacy. So he's restricted


now to what he can do with the cue ball. The red that's to the left of


the bunch of reds, he'll have to angle that and cannon the blue, then


he can concentrate on the pot and the position will take care of


itself. Just hit the blue. A bit of movement


in his body there in that shot. That wasn't his normal smooth


playing style. A little bit of movement at that


time. He normally does that. The fact he was tight on the cushion


almost, that's slightly more difficult. Finishing short on this


red so he could bring more reds into play when potting this.


Missed a similar black in the previous frame but he was bridging


over a red that time. Just managed to avoid cannoning the


red there which could have spoiled things. Judged it to perfection.


Three reds above the black, he could push through to the black one. That


is what he played. Hasn't worked out though. When he hits


Needs a special pot if he's going to continue here. Remember what


happened in the previous frame, a 47 break wasn't enough. This is a very


tough shot. Oh, what a shot! APPLAUSE.


Through the gap, redthe pink. He was always going to finish low on this


red. Just didn't quite judge it. When


you're cannoning other reds, there's always a possibility you can finish


on the cushion. Shouldn't be a problem covering that red. It's over


the right corner pocket. Has to make sure he locks the path


through to that. And the brown near the cushion for


insurance. APPLAUSE.


It's a very healthy lead, 54 points, but not a man in the form that Marco


Fu is. Will he get a chance? Very clever indeed.


APPLAUSE. Acknowledged by Ronnie tapping on


the table. OK, there is a potable red into the left middle but look


where the cue ball's tucked up. That last shot that Marco Fu played,


shows how well he's thinking to just get down and play that safety shot.


Seen it straightaway. Oh, brilliant shot. Look how


confident he played that. Look what he's leaving. Should he have missed


that red? Just floated it in. He's just seeing everything isn't he.


Oh, decelerated on that. Chose to take the most difficult red.


That's what happens when you decelerate, you miss the pot thin.


Wow, that could have been a huge turning point had he pinched that


frame after pinching the previous one.


They are just so evenly matched now in this semi-final. First sign of


weakness I've seen in Marco Fu for the first time in a long time, in


this match. APPLAUSE.


Would have been a strong favourite had he have taken the frame. But you


just sense that this could go to a deciding frame. We have had some


fabulous matches all week. Quite a few of them going the distance.


Average frame time of 12 minutes. Just shows you the quality of


snooker. Much safety play. It's been whoever gets in first here.


Finished the frame off with a break of 63. Marco Fu did have a chance,


missed that red, with the rest, and we are back all square again, 4-4.


Marco had the chance for another steal as in the previous frame, but


Ronnie on 55, was it the right shot that the rest have taken on? I think


so. I think where he landed, where he finished, he knew full well, if


he was perfect on the red, if he drops it in, it was a perfect


position. He's just missed it. Interesting what Stephen said, I


said virtually the same thing to you, is that the first sign of a


little bit of pressure showing in the match, but nevertheless the


right shot to take. You can't argue with it. On many occasions we say


take the difficult ball earlier than the last ball because it may make


the lest rest of the clearance easier. He's done that. That's not


much different to taking the red along the top cushion when there are


two left. That's what you would do. It put him under pressure, he's


playing that with the rest and in a way, he's going, if I get this in,


this could be frame ball. He's got to clear all the balls up. The


argument against that is that he's playing it with the rest and it may


have been a way of extricating that red from the side cushion in another


way. Later on, yes. He's been playing so well. He must have


fancied every ball he went for, but it was with the rest. He's been so


cool. We talked about that in the last frame. Does your opponent feed


on little signs like that, that perhaps you are under it? They have


to because there's been no mistakes, it's been that good. True. Any


little sign of weakness you can cling on to you are going to take.


They are both absolutely at each other. Ronnie O'Sullivan banged the


table earlier when he failed to get position of the ball. Marco Fu


nearly banged the table. That's qieflt of Ronnie banging the table.


Almost unheard of from his perspective. His expression actually


changed! He's deliberately cultivated that level. It's a poker


face he's done, not to show weakness so when it does crack, it takes you


aback. He's got a fabulous temperament. We have been extolling


his virtues this week and his temperament is to keep smiling.


Ronnie giving a bit of attention to the equipment there. There's Belle


with mum Shirley, just flown in from Hong Kong. Looking for her dad.


She's a real live wire that one. A couple of years ago at the UK


Championship, she was one of the stars of the show. Cheeky little


smile. She's a real sweetheart and her dad is doing fantastic things


here as he tries to go for a first major title. Best of three, Belle


Shirley everybody else on tenterhooks to see how this is going


and the pressure really on now guys? Yes, it is, what a fantastic match


and tournament we have been treated to. Probably I've said many a time


worthy of a final. They met in the semi-final. Two great players.


Remains to be seen whether Marco can keep the form up and can Ronnie - I


think he's got oaf the new tip - Ronnie is in a good mental state


now. What percentage of increase in level that we have seen over the


last couple of days from the match has he played against Liang and


Robertson now? It's chalk and cheese. I think he's really enjoying


the challenge today. He's playing against somebody at the peak of his


form and he wants to get into the final. It's ban wonderful match,


plenty more to come. 4-4, best of three, here we go.


Once again, good pace with the break-off shot.


APPLAUSE. If he's got a slight angle on this


red, he might just be tempted because he could drop on the black,


the only thing he could possibly leave would be the red. It's now


down to the best of three. Just decided against risking that.




The crowd have been fabulous throughout this match. We don't need


a single one shouting out at the wrong time, it spoils it for both


the players. The red that's closest to the cue


ball, he could come off that the left hand side a bit thin leave the


cue ball up by the yellow pocket and hopefully bring the black into play


as well. That was a risky one to Nestle and


you are trusting that the table's going to run perfectly through. You


can always get a little deviation from the cloth and he didn't judge


it as he intended. It was the first negative shot that Marco Fu's played


in a long time because it could have gone thin and brought the cue ball


back to where it was but he obviously thought that was the one


he played was the easy one to play. REFEREE: Can you stop moving,


please... Someone on the front row was moving around having a drink,


probably brought some water in with him.


He can come off the bunch and it's not that difficult a shot to take


the cue ball back up to where he was playing from.


Not the way he's been playing so far this afternoon, that shot.


This was the one where you can see him dropping the cue. He knew it was


a great chance. Meanwhile, he knows that Ronnie hasn't finished on the


red as nicely as he would have liked. It's all about a cannon here


when he hits the black. Can he avoid that? He could. Left handed as well.


APPLAUSE. To get that sort of action on the


cue ball with your opposite hand to avoid cannoning the black was


excellent. Since the interthat will, and we had


the interval after three frames, he made breaks of 95, 122, 47, 55 and


63 in the previous frame. 141 and 83 breaks for Marco Fu.


APPLAUSE. Gone too far. A smile there, but six


inches further than he intended. This was the one he misjudged


slightly. He knew it would be too hard.


I think he can see enough of the red, but the brown is quite a


distraction. The red just nearest the blue, but very awkward cueing


along the side of the brown there. Managed to cover that red. That's a


tricky situation he was faced with there.


There is Nick Peanut Baines. He is a keyboard player with the Kaizer


Chiefs. He loves his snooker. Well, this red, to the right of the table,


there is pressure on this. If that red keeps running, he's safe


for relatively safe. He got away with that one. There is


only one pottable red. That's the one that just between the pink and


black. That's the only possible red he could pot, but he may cannon into


other reds. So it's very difficult. Just the safety shot. I don't blame


him. Well, we've had everything in this


match only bouts of safety and now we're getting that! There has been a


string of breaks. It is nice to see the tactical side of the game also.


Oh. He got a good cue ball, but if he


can get tight up behind the colour, he will gain a good advantage. We


will show you this fluke to plant. He doesn't want to get too cute and


try and get too close to the brown. Oh, that cue ball ran off. That ran


off a mile. It only moved the space of just about over a foot. Watch


this cue ball go to the right. That's shocking.


Well, nothing Marco Fu could have done about that. Sometimes you get


it along the baulk line. But instead of being snookered, if this green


goes in, it could be the end of frame, but it's not easy.


A fabulous pot. You see what he's leaving.


What a difference that would have made, Dennis. It would have stuck


Ronnie up tight behind that brown ball. It is just a little awkward


here for the good positional shot. He can't make his mind up.


Yes, sometimes you're faced with a shot and you know it's not just a


matter of potting the ball and getting nicely on the next colour.


He still can't decide which way to play it.


And in the end he made it look very, very easy with a very, very delicate


screw shot. Yes, a puff of the cheeks.


Always glad to get that one out of the way, but very unfortunate for


Marco Fu. OK, he was a long way behind, but had he of got the


snooker which he normally would have done without the ball drifting, as


we show you it again, and suddenly little things are just going in


Ronnie's favour. I mean, he has played fantastic stuff. I think that


turning point in the previous frame when Marco missed the one with the


rest that would have given him a 5-3 lead if he had of pinched that


frame. It is like the first time in the match, the enormity of the


occasion got to him and he the opportunity to go 5-3 ahead.


He won the previous frame with breaks of 55 and 63.


This is following a similar pattern. He has had breaks of 46 and now


there are. -- this. Oh, what a shot that was.


You don't see that very often. You don't see that shot played very


often. And the black is on its way. A break


of 46. He followed that up with that break of 82. The Rocket really has


lifted off and now he's just one frame away from the place in the


final. It is 5-4. A lot hinged on that roll off from


Marco earlier on. This was a bad one. He is very unlucky there. I


agree with Dennis, sometimes you get them along the slate line, but there


is no slate line there. You could see it going right. OK, it is a


little bit hard anyway, but to pull off like that is unlucky. Some


cracking stuff from Ronnie O'Sullivan again. 46 and 82 in that


frame and there was a lovely green to the middle pocket that we were


oing and ahing about. Ronnie O'Sullivan, you know, he does know


how to take a frame by the scruff of the neck and the sign of a great


champion, when needed, he seemed to have upped the pace in the whole


tournament. OK, we talk about form and playing your first round match


and winning it easily, it is about how you end up the tournament, not


how you start off. Ronnie O'Sullivan with a brand-new tip on, regardless


of how fantastic that is, all of a sudden he looks like a champion. Do


you detect any signs of tentativeness in Marco at this


point? Can that be attributed this situation to him, or is this all


about Ronnie? If he loses the match, people will look at the rest. It is


so important. In the grand scheme of things, there is not a lot wrong he


has done. Certainly not in this match. He has played as good as he


can do, but he has got a fully focussed Ronnie O'Sullivan who is


enjoying the challenge today and that's what the problem is. It has


been a challenge that's been even more magnified by the equipment


failure with the cue earlier, but somehow he has come back, he


produced his best stuff of the whole week since that technical fault if


you like at the end of frame three. He is one away from booking a place


in yet another Masters final. Both players have been breaking off


very well. They're finding that baulk cushion and they keep leaving


a half chance, but because the white is so close to the cushion, it makes


it very, very difficult. This will be interesting to see if


Ronnie is tempted by this red to left corner to drop in the black and


you can see if he misses it. He would have to be leaving Marco Fu a


chance. Well, he might be refusing it. It looks like he will leave the


cue ball on this top cushion. Or is he taking the pot on?


APPLAUSE What a fantastic pot, but that


always looked like the natural angle for the cue ball to go. A tremendous


pot. Yes, he also slid off the side of


the pack and finished on the black. He might have left a red to the


right middle pocket. I think he was playing to just land on that red.


Yeah. He has left a possible pot. But no easy colour available if he


takes that on. Yeah, it was quite clever really. It's going to take


some shot for Marco to get on the black. That was always the danger.


An element of safety as well. You can see where the cue ball is.


That's a little bit on the thick side, but I think the pace of the


table will still take him behind the yellow. He would have been trying to


get the cue ball tight on the baulk cushion, but that will do very


nicely. There is no easy route back to the


safety zone from that position. APPLAUSE


I think this Alexandra Palace crowd have taken to Marco Fu. I think the


snooker he has produced this week has been scintillating especially


against Judd Trump and when you knock the balls in and you play


great snooker, you'll get the support of the crowd. Just look at


that crowd. What an atmosphere these two players have had to play in this


afternoon. 2,000 people in the Ally Pally. Noise when it's needed.


Silence when the players are at the table.


Where is the cue ball going? It's OK.


APPLAUSE And have a look at the reds. That is


what you call an attacking safety shot.


Certainly no easy escape back down the table from that position.


You would have to be very accurate, indeed.


The white is tight on the cushion to the left of the black, he'd cover


that red that's on for the right corner, but he thought of quite a


few options. It is not often Ronnie thinks about


a shot this length of time, but it is very understandable here.


It was worth waiting on. I said he'd do well to find a path down the


table. He found a pot and he found a way back down the table and he's on


the brown to get back up to the reds. He spotted something on the


cue ball, but that is the shot, probably of the tournament, from


that position. To pot that and to fin the gap. -- find the gap.


Dennis is talking about the whole tournament. It could have been so


different in Wen had potted that black in the first round. This man


at the table was within a black ball of being knocked out. Now, he looks


odds on to be making tomorrow's final. And going for a record


seventh Masters title to overtake Stephen's six Masters.


Still at 97%. Someone in his line of sight there, "Come on, mate."


He's doing the right thing. Thank you, that's enough. He's settling


himself. He knows the importance of this visit. He really is fired up


here. He has just asked someone to keep


still. It must be a photographer. It has to be.


Well, Marco Fu has just got to sit there and hope that something can go


wrong here for Ronnie, but he looks very, very focussed does Ronnie


O'Sullivan. It has been an absolutely fabulous


semifinal match this between two players at the top of their form.


Very few mistakes have been made. The odd error that was costly


because of the way either player are playing. A little bit of misfortune


misfortune with that ball rolling off.


APPLAUSE I don't think I have ever seen


Ronnie O'Sullivan as animated as he is today. It seems every shot has


got a different facial expression. The will to win is ferocious to get


into that final. Well, this is going to finish a


little awkward. 51 in front. He is not many pots away from securing a


place in the final. It's there. He is going to play it left-handed


if he can reach it. Why not? And that is a lovely gesture from


Marco Fu there. It has been a fabulous semifinal as I mentioned.


We said Marco Fu had to play at the top of his game. He did that. He's


still applauding. That's the type of character that Marco is, but they've


treated this Alexandra Palace audience to some brilliant,


brilliant snooker. It doesn't matter.


That was lovely to see both players. It has been a fabulous semifinal. It


would have been a great final. In the end Ronnie O'Sullivan was just


brilliant and he goes on to beat Marco Fu which 6-4. He's in the


final! This Ally Pally crowd is on its


feet. That was truly awesome, gentlemen. Fabulous afternoon of


snooker. Two players at their best. I feel sorry for Marco because


nobody else but that man would have beaten him today. You see his face


when he won there? He was euphoric. We saw the fist pump and we saw


Marco applauding him. That's all you can do particularly in the final


frame when he picked the red out and got on to the brown. You can only be


admiring of that and we have seen Ronnie O'Sullivan on many occasions


produce something special, but from the add verity of having to change


his tip half-way through and being up against it against a player that


was playing so well, that was one magnificent performance. He should


be very proud of himself. Well, he is through into a 12th final.


Ronnie, fantastic. May I say, that's how you break a tip in!


Against all that adversity, how did you cope because at that point in


the match you're down. Go through that for us? It's crazy. I was


cueing really well and I just thought, I was on the practise table


and I kept getting out of position and I thought this ain't me! If I


had of been cueing bad. I've tried that. No, I knew it wasn't me. It


wasn't me. I just said to my mate, we was steaming it. I had my cue tip


over a kettle because that's meant to soften it up and it didn't have


no effect. I just went out there and I just couldn't play any shots. I


had no touch, no feel and I'm a touch and player and if I haven't


got that, I might as well go home. I need something, so hi to put a new


tip on and it was a decent tip. How do you play with a new tip? I'm not


a bad player. The tip was split though. It was completely gone. It


couldn't take no chalk. I miscued five or six times. It was chalking a


bit of slate. I said to my friend, it is like a bit of slate. I was


going to wait for the interval, but it was so gone and they said you can


take the interval now. I was like sweet.


slightly. He knew it would be too hard.


How risky going for a new tip? No risk at all, I would never have won


that. I knew that unless I raised a gear, I was going home, mate, he


would have knocked me out. It was the only decision to make. OK, 95


immediately when you came back into the arena then you throw in a 122,


but there was a moment in frame 8 where he missed with the rest when


he was up here and if he cleared that, you were on 55 weren't you.


Yes. It was at that point we maybe saw a bit of frailty and that was a


turning point? It's the Masters, 2,000 people, 50-odd behind, we are


capable of missing anything. He's got no problem with bottle, he's a


tournament winner, but anyone in the world in the history of the game


could have missed that. They'll tell you that. It's not easy. If he had


his hand on the table, I fancied clearing up. All of a sudden he


played the roll up, it seemed to perhaps hit a finger mark. Strange


situation? I don't know what happened there, I can't remember.


Listen, I mean, at the end of the day, if you don't play well, the


other guy can have luck. If you play well the other guy can have luck and


gets bits of this, but if you play well you can overcome it. I had a


lot of luck but he should have still beat me because I weren't very good.


We were discussing the level you played at today, comparing it to


your previous games. I said three years ago, I'm never taking another


tip off and I stuck with this tip and it was a terrible tip. I stuck


with it and stuck with it and I was like, you know what, it's coming


off, but that's sometimes what you have to do, make an instinctive


decision. Everyone around me was, what the hell are you doing and you


have to live by the sword, die by the sword. You looked like you


enjoyed that match? Probably one of the best I've won. I fancied the job


even with a new tip. I thought if I can get a feel of it, I'm playing


well enough to counteract that. If you are playing well, you can get


away with a new tip. If you are playing bad, you get a new tip on


and it's Overmars. You are into your 12th final. Only won six, not a very


good strike rate. You could still take this record on your own. I


wonder who you fancy tonight, Joe or Barry? I don't care, to me I've had


a Saturday afternoon out, what else would I be doing on a Saturday


afternoon, 2,000 people, unbelievable, lucky, luck you boy


and I'm lucky I have all day tomorrow. A great week so far. Last


year, I was really under pressure because I done my back in and I was


doing interviews and you thought I was losing the plot, you lot.


Nothing personal. I never thought I would play properly again because I


done my back in so bad. This year I'm so relaxed because I think, I


have perspective and Steve said, don't tell anyone you are playing


better. I've come through a lot and I feel that everything's a bonus.


I'm still twitching out there and I still want to win, don't get me


wrong. We saw the fist pump, it meant a lot to you? It meant a lot


to me. Marco is such a lovely guy but I just felt all the way through


that match, I can win this but I know I've got to play well and I


can't make many mistakes. I the new tip, a little shot was missable and


I thought, it's up against me but I can do this. When I done it I was so


relieved because I have another day to get used to the tip so I'll be


quiet now. You don't have to be quiet. Another semi-final tonight.


You will enjoy that. What an awesome performance. It's been an absolute


pleasure. Thank you, thank you so much. We are back at serve tonne see


which Englishman, the Hawk or the Gentleman, that Ronnie will be


playing. Hope you can join us then, but what an afternoon. Thanks for


your company. Bye for now. I bet he can rub his belly


and pat his head.


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