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Page last updated at 23:18 GMT, Saturday, 15 January 2011

Marco Fu to face Ding Junhui in all-Asian Masters final

THE MASTERS
Venue: Wembley Arena Date: 9-16 January Coverage: Live action & highlights on BBC Two, Red Button and BBC Sport website; updates and reports on BBC Radio 5 live and online; watch again on iPlayer; full details of BBC coverage

Marco Fu lines up a black in his Masters semi-final against Mark Allen

Fu blasts past Allen to reach Masters final

By Mark Ashenden
BBC Sport at Wembley

Marco Fu fought back brilliantly to beat Mark Allen 6-4 and set up an all-Asian Masters final with Ding Junhui.

Northern Irishman Allen was dominant at 4-1 after breaks of 70 and 66, but Fu stormed back with two centuries and a 97 to level the scores at 4-4.

Hong Kong cueman Fu edged an agonising ninth after a battle over the colours before surviving late nerves to win.

The 16th seed faces China's Ding, who produced a sparkling display in a 6-3 win over Jamie Cope.

Sunday's final starts at 1400 GMT and gives Ding, Masters runner-up in 2007, the chance to gain revenge on the player who beat him to a gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou in November.

China's hottest snooker property led Cope 3-1 at the interval thanks to breaks of 68, 54 and 102, although the 25-year-old from Stoke, making his Masters debut, did fire in a 101 in the second frame.

Cope continued his good work with a 58 but then had to watch his opponent snatch it on the black with a brilliant knock of 65.

Marco played very well and he thoroughly deserved his win

Mark Allen

China's two-time UK champion allowed his opponent back in the match at 4-2 but a break of 60 took him to within one of victory and, although Cope battled on to get it to 5-3 with a 73, Ding stood firm to progress.

Fu's victory earlier on Saturday came from an incredible turnaround for the man who only 15 hours before had whitewashed Peter Ebdon 6-0 to reach another Masters semi-final, three years after losing to Stephen Lee.

"To me it's one of the biggest achievements I've ever had," Fu reflected.

"Great champions struggle here coming to the Masters for some reason but everyone really wants to do well here. I rate this win as one of the best for me," he added.

While there was jubilation for Fu, it was heartache for world number 11 Allen, who had been desperately hunting his first major final appearance having reached a sixth semi-final.

The Northern Ireland cueman started brightly, though, with a 70 and showed the form that helped him dump out Ronnie O'Sullivan and world champion Neil Robertson in earlier rounds.

606: DEBATE

Fu, though, hit back with an 82 to level the scores before the lively pair, who have impressed throughout the week with their long potting, engaged in a 35-minute frame which concluded with Fu scrapping for his life, needing two snookers on the blue.

It was a fine example of the battling qualities of the 2008 Masters semi-finalist and in stark contrast to O'Sullivan throwing in the towel when needing a single snooker against Allen in the first round.

Allen survived though and then a 66 ensured a two-frame advantage as he returned to the dressing room for an interval chat with coach Terry Griffiths - who would have had to share his time with Fu, one of his other pupils.

Fu, 33, looked set to pull one back with a 42 in the fifth frame but a missed red allowed his opponent to jump back to the baize and steal it with a 48.

Fu's luck changed when Allen got a kick on the black in the next frame, putting him on the way to a stunning 130 break, his fourth century of the 12 seen at Wembley this week, to kick off his recovery.

The momentum was turning towards Fu and only a green wobbling in the jaws denied the world number 18 a second successive ton as his break ended on 97.

His masterclass continued with a break of 136 to level the scores and secure his third frame on the bounce.

Frame nine was a firecracker as the tension and drama built. Fu led 48-1 but Allen recovered to trail 48-32 before the Hong Kong star eventually came through a fascinating battle over the colours.

Fu then led 55-1 but Allen was soon sniffing a last-frame decider following a knock of 48, but the 2007 Grand Prix champion stayed cool under immense pressure and is now just one win away from the biggest trophy of his career.

"In the last two frames everything went wrong and the run of the balls completely changed," Allen said after his defeat.

"But Marco played very, very well and he thoroughly deserved his win. If he plays like that he's got a great chance of winning it."

Ding Junhui

Ding into final after fifth-frame fightback



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see also
Masters scores and match schedule
16 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Allen sets up semi-final with Fu
14 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Ding and Cope set up Masters semi
13 Jan 11 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan suffers Masters defeat
11 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Higgins dumped out by dogged Dott
10 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Williams hurdles pink in Ding defeat
10 Jan 11 |  Snooker
King beats Masters champion Selby
09 Jan 11 |  Snooker
Ask the snooker experts
14 Jan 11 |  Snooker


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